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A collection of thoughts from our members

National Volunteer Week - Gratitude

I traveled to a rural village in Honduras called Tomatin during this past spring break through UCSD's Public Health Brigades. During this service trip, our organization worked alongside community members to build water storage units, showers, toilets, and concrete floors in order to prevent the spread of diseases within the family's homes. After we completed the projects, we sat down with the family we were working with and asked the grandmother and grandfather what they are thankful for. In short, they replied that they are thankful that God has blessed them with the opportunity to wake up every morning with their health and their family. Their simple response was a defining moment of the trip for me because it was the first time that week where I felt ashamed. Their response struck me so hard because it made me realize how much of my life I have wasted being unhappy and complaining about the smallest, most insignificant things. All of the time I had spent complaining about having to deal with cranky customers or having to spend hours in Geisel studying for tests suddenly shied in comparison to the bigger picture that I was finally opening my eyes to. This sweet family I met in Honduras will most likely never be able to have the same opportunities in terms of jobs and education, but they are more than grateful to make $1 a day performing back-breaking labor and work so incredibly hard so that they can save up the money to hopefully allow their children to attend school for at least a few years. In that moment, I realized how much I resented myself for taking so much of what I have for granted and that resentment spurred me to want to do something to truly change the way that I think about the world around me. It is so much easier to complain about what I do not have instead of being grateful for the little things that this family lacked, like having privacy when I shower and not having to constantly fear contracting a bacterial infection from drinking a cup of water. Although my life will never be completely perfect, the only way for me to be happy and satisfied with where I am today is to always remain humble and grounded, and most of all to take the time to appreciate what I do have because it can be taken away from me so incredibly fast.

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