Abi

I am going to be as honest as I can possibly be.  Coming on this trip I knew it wasn’t going to be another touristy Quinnipiac trip where we would ride bikes and visit museums.  I knew I was going to place that needed our help but what I didn’t count on was the fact that I needed their help.  My family was never extremely wealthy but I never had a night where I went without food or water.  Going on this trip was truly enlightening and humbling.

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When I stepped off that yellow school bus the first day I had never felt so loved and adored by so many people I didn’t know.  We all have been programmed to not speak to strangers or to ignore people in passing because it is a social convention but not here.  Everyone wants to say “hello” and get to know you.  When I first got to Batey 50 I didn’t know where to go or what to do but as I followed the group I saw everyone saying hello to friendly faces and I knew I should branch out as well. I looked to my right and there was a little girl who looked both interested in what was going on but scared as well.  I took her hand, said hello, and asked her name. Her name was Abi.

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Abi, at first shy, was one of the best parts of this trip. That first day with her didn’t include much talking but one thing I noticed was that she never left my side.  She wanted a friend and I was happy to be that for her.  At one point we lost the group and I tried to find her house which wasn’t easy since I don’t speak much Spanish.  When I finally got her home I found out that her mom was not in fact her mom but her aunt.  Her mom lives in the city with her sister and left her 3 year old behind. Learning that fact hit me hard.  This precious girl was left behind with no one really looking after her.  She had her aunt but her aunt had 2 small kids of her own.  As the week progressed I could see how happy Abi was.  I had learned that the previous year she was sick and barely cracked a smile. This year Abi couldn’t stop smiling and let her personality shine through.

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When I think back on Abi and her smile I know that she is okay because behind that smile is a strong little girl. She is a fighter and no matter what might happen she will keep on fighting.  The strength and love I see in her will always give me strength to push through my struggles no matter how big or small because anything I go through will never be as serious as what she is going through.  Abi is an intelligent, beautiful, strong, lovable, and kind little girl.  Knowing her has made me a different person.  This trip has made me a different person.

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Thank you QU301 DR Spring 2016,

-Melissa

 

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