I went to Tanzania for three weeks during the summer of 2018, from late June until early July. Going into this trip I was so excited to meet girls living at a boarding school and to work in an orphanage. I was excited to meet all the people that I would be staying with and going on safaris. What I wasn't expecting was to have my outlook on life changed forever.
When we landed in Dar es Salaam after two long flights, we were greeted with the most love and joy I have ever seen and felt. Everyone was smiling and waiting to help us in any way they could. I was so overwhelmed at how amazing these people were. After being greeted we began the drive to our first hotel. On the way, I saw the poverty throughout the capital, but what I also saw was smiles. Smiles everywhere. I saw mothers carrying their children along the streets, with no shoes on; but they were still smiling and talking happily to each other.
Not only did I see this is the capital, but I also saw this with the girls and the orphans. These girls had nothing but their uniforms and books, yet they were so happy. They always thanked us for any little thing we did. I will never forget one time a sweet girl about my age (16), cried out of happiness just from me sitting with her and making friendship bracelets. The little kids in the orphanage that had been living there since before they could remember were all joy. All they wanted to do was hold your hand and be next to you.
These things will always stay with me, not because I got to go to Africa, or see zebras and lions and giraffes up close, or meet some amazing people who I still keep in touch with today, but because I saw people who realized that life is not about what you have, it's about who is in your life and how you chose to live it.