We come from a world where the majority of people don’t know how to listen to others. It is a very simple task, yet somehow can be unmanageable for mankind to achieve. People are taught to put a smile on their face, even if they feel pain. It’s crazy to think that every person you walk past in the grocery store, post office, mall, or any public place has their own story, their own struggles, and their own emotions. The average person may know only a few people’s stories and true feelings.
On such a short trip, I have been able to connect with and hear the stories of so many people. Not only have several individuals and families opened up to me, but I also have met people who are willing to hear my story. What’s amazing is that the only thing it took was to listen and to be listened to.
Almost every night, our group has had deep, therapeutic discussions before bed. Sometimes we are asked fun and silly questions, but other times we are asked to share uncomfortable situations that we are used to keeping bottled up. It is very refreshing to have a group of people keep quiet and just listen to you talk; I am so used to being interrupted by people, or have people revert your story back to them, and it is nice to finally be heard.
Throughout this trip, we have gone on many home visits. The people that we visit have a very hard time affording essential items, have had loved ones pass away, or have fatal illnesses that they can’t treat. It might be a little intimidating for the families when a group of “wazungus” (white people) come into your home and bombard you with questions, but for them to know that someone cares is very important. All of the home visits have been to the house of someone who is connected to LOAMO – that of a student, a teacher, or someone from kitchen crew.
Happy faces with smiles from ear to ear, kids running around, and laughs that you just want to record and listen to whenever you are down are just some of the things that you get to experience at LOAMO. So hearing that I am going on a home visit to the house of someone that I see smiling and laughing everyday is emotionally challenging for me. Coming to the realization that the child who always comes running up to you, jumps into your arms, and seems so perfect and innocent, goes home to a one-bedroom house shared by four other people is heartbreaking. It is amazing to see that people with so little have so much love to share. I wish people in America had more love to share. These kids have inspired me to not take anything that I have for granted and to love with all my heart. I am beyond grateful.