I’ve spent the last couple days in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and it’s shocking to me how much my brief time seeing each country’s rural areas has, in a sense, reminded me of my two weeks in Rwanda two years ago.
One of the local Nicaraguans who worked with our service project group for this Enrichment Voyage said, “we’re not a poor country. We’re impoverished,” implying that while the Central American nation might not be considered economically prosperous, when it comes to joy and a sense of fulfillment, Nicaragua is quite wealthy. That perfectly sums up what I felt and experienced while in East Africa.
Few places have seen such hardship during this generation—and as recent as 18 years ago at that—and are able to bounce back with forgiveness, grace and love. It was quite similar to Cambodia in that respect; such trips, for me at least, are necessary reminders to live life to the fullest and with gratitude and appreciation for all we have.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If you’re traveling to East Africa, don’t pass up the opportunity to meet this amazing culture. I can guarantee you one thing: You won’t leave the same person as you arrived.