HI Impact Trip Day 2 By Brenna Akkerman - 2/2/17

Coming into this trip for round 2, I was expecting to have the same emotions that I did when I was here for the first time. Although similar, and now 3 years later, they are much deeper than I was anticipating.

We woke up early today and headed into the mountains. It was nearly a 3-hour drive to our destination so we had a variety of scenery and a lot to talk about/reflect on. While driving through, my mind was completely blown to say the least.  We passed little towns here and there, and between the towns were even smaller villages.  Witnessing the people who are living in these areas was heart wrenching. It was as if we went back in time; to the days where people walked miles to get food and water, where they bathed their children in rivers, where their goal every day was just to survive; unfortunately, this is the reality for the people we saw today. Aside from the children, most seemed to be working, and work in their case might mean growing food in the field a few miles away, or being a teacher at the school that's the size of a small bedroom. Some people actually were just sitting on rocks staring.

Conditions for these people are so poor; it left a pit at the bottom of my stomach the whole day. As we drove by each of them, we didn't know what to do; "Should we wave? Should we smile?", we thought, but all of us had an overwhelming feeling of guilt. After all, we drove by in our nice vehicle as they were walking bare foot, wearing our designer clothes when they barely had any on, our stomachs full from having just eaten a chef-cooked breakfast, and now heading to a beautiful waterfall. Who are we?!

We have it so good. Too good.

My biggest fear today was that these people would feel sad that they didn't have our lives.  Day in and day out, they are living to survive and are doing so with the fewest amount of resources possible.  In the lives we live, we look forward to our future of going to college, buying a house, making a living doing what we're passionate about, finding love & having children; what do these people see in their future?

We went to the waterfall and as expected it was absolutely breathtaking.  On the way home we got a flat tire so due to lack of time we were unable to go to the field today to play with the kids. I'm forever grateful we got to experience that drive to the waterfall today, though; the things I saw are things I'll never forget, and I will be taking what I learned today home with me.

Brenna Akkerman, Minneapolis, MN