A Twisted ankle,A Life Changing Encounter
Two words, four syllables:Pico Duarte. This experience was honestly one of the hardest things I have done in my life. It challenged me mentally, emotionally, and physically. Though it was difficult, when I reached the top, I felt so accomplished I forgot about it all. Tragically, while traveling down the mountain, I twisted my ankle. I was so upset and felt hopeless... Never would I imagine that I had to twist my ankle to receive what I experienced after.... Since I was no longer able to walk, I had to ride a donkey down. I will never forget the young man that helped me down that mountain. To me, the conversation I had with him was worth a twisted ankle, even more. It was so thought provoking and intriguing. I noticed how quiet he was instantly. He performed the job he had to do well. Finally, I decided to spark a conversation with him. I asked him how old he was. He answered 17, then asked where I was from and how long I would be in the Dominican Republic. I answered and then quickly asked if he went to school. He told me no, that school wasn't even a thought or an option for him. He went on to tell me he had nothing to look forward to, this was his life. When the trip ended for me, I would return to Santiago, live my life there for three more months, then return to the United States. As for him, this was no trip... This was real life, day in and day out working, for nothing to look forward to. This statement hit me hard. I had never thought of it like this before, and was glad he pointed it out in that way. My "experience" I would later skype my mom about in my comfy bed, probably sipping on some pineapple juice was his reality...my muddy clothes and shoes that I would soon wash multiple times, he wouldn't have the same opportunity. Not taking a shower for a couple of days was weird to me, for him, it was normal. The thought of receiving a college degree was dim to non-existent for him, for me I was given the opportunity. This encounter with this young man really impacted me greatly. It's one thing to read about things, but experiencing them first hand is totally different. When I first twisted my ankle, it was tragic, but now I remember it as a "twist" in thinking about the situation. This trip ended up not being about accomplished Pico Duarte, for me it turned into an eye opening encounter.