I Can Make a World of Difference
Real is the most fitting word to describe the REAL. LIFE. exhibit at Medical Teams International. That probably sounds obvious, but when I witnessed the exhibit firsthand, I was shocked at what a truly real look it gives into the world's suffering and oppression.
Every day we hear news reports about the tragedies occurring all over the world. When the tsunami and the Golf Coast hurricanes hit, we sent millions of dollars in aid to those who lost everything. We have expressed grief over the suffering of orphans in Africa and Eastern Europe. However, simply reading about it or seeing a few pictures doesn't do justice to this kind of suffering. Only after experiencing, touching, feeling, and witnessing these places are we truly moved to action.
I speak from experience. There's nothing like seeing just how high the wave of that tsunami was. I will always see the image of the thousands of refugee tents when I hear the word refugee. The exhibit brings these places to life so that we, as comfortable Americans, can taste just a small piece of what real people are facing all over the world.
Real exposure gives birth to true appreciation. I know that I had never even thought about orphans in Romania and how they're suffering until I heard the sounds and smelled the smells in the orphanage. When standing inside a African hut and listening to a girl tell the true story of how she is left to raise her younger siblings, my heart broke for the girl and the millions who tell a story similar to hers.
And yet, it is not all feelings of sadness and regret that filled my heart. I was also instilled with hope. When I compared the five or six household items that the African hut contained with the overflowing piles of junk in my own bedroom, it made me realize that I had to do something. I have become more hopeful that average Americans, people who are blessed beyond all comprehension, can come together and help change these terrible situations. We are the ones with the resources, and I trust that God has a plan for how we can use those resources to change the lives of the people who need it most.
It may not have been firsthand experience, but it was closer than just a news segment or magazine article. It was truly getting a look at real life for those who are suffering, and I walked away from it with a sincere hope that change will occur and the realization that even I can make a world of difference.
Westside Christian High School
Westside Outside, Thailand Project