How Can You Spread Sunshine?

What is happiness? This question consistently went through my mind as we traveled the country of Kenya. People who have learned to appreciate what they have instead of complaining about what they could.

This is something that shocked me because coming from the United States no one is ever satisfied; everything is about having more than the person next to you. There is a special spark I saw in the people of Kenya, and it was this desire to be someone in society. I’m not talking about a CEO or an investment banker but instead a teacher, farmer or even neurosurgeon within their community. Success to them wasn’t about how much money or power they had, it was about how many people they helped or how many lives they changed.

Many times I think that college will help me increase my earning potential, but this experience has allowed me to widen my eyes and understand that there is more to life than just wealth. Maybe I can use my knowledge to help those who do not have access to the same resources. Or maybe I could motivate someone who has seen nothing but hardship in their life. The possibilities are endless and no matter how challenging these individuals’ backgrounds were, they continued to be the change they wanted to see in the world.

In a world full of violence, poverty and hardship there was this ray of sunshine called passion. This ray of shine was what kept every single person I met throughout this trip going, and I mean every single person.

Often, we find ourselves conforming to society because we want to fit in, but instead what I saw in Kenya is that everyone brought their dream and passion to the table and fed off each other’s energy to continue to live. It was not a competition, but instead, a group project where the community would not be successful unless everyone contributed.

All in all, thank you, Kenya for welcoming me into a culture that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Asante Sana.

Justin Soto
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