I wrote an essay at the beginning of senior year which I am submitting as my description due to the fact that it describes my efforts and ambitions quite well.
As I Peer Down
“This happens all the time; it’s no big deal, Amani. Just ignore them. If you look the other way, they’ll leave us alone.” I glanced down from the chairlift to the children underneath me in the snow. Barely being able to fathom what my uncle had just told me, I just sat there. My first instinct would be to drop them whatever coin or two I had so that their living skeletons could have a bite to eat after God knows how long, or maybe some thicker clothes for the merciless snow-filled mountains; but my uncle referred to them as if they were an annoyance. This is because poverty is a way of life in some areas of the world, Pakistan being one of them.
In America, welfare has been established by the government for people living below the poverty level. In Pakistan, no such thing exists to aid half the nation. Regardless of where you go, what you do, I put my life on it- you’ll come across a dying beggar. (Or many.)
I promise you. It’s difficult. It’s difficult as you sit on the terrace, enjoying the sunset, and notice an impaired man in his 70’s, his diseased body covered in rags dragging him down the lane. It’s difficult when you take your healthy, educated, rich, middle-class self out shopping; purse loaded with money, mind fixed on want. Then you come across a man with no legs. Or a man with no arms. Or a man with no sight. Or an old woman with all of the above. Yes, even an orphan baby in the arms of his or her ten year old sibling.
When did that person last take a bath? What was the last meal they had? Who were their parents? What was their childhood like? Were they always living in this desperate state? I wonder. But I know that wondering gets me nowhere. Wondering is never going to answer my questions. There’s not a place on this earth I can escape to which will erase the sights, sounds, or feeling of staring poverty dead in the eye. It might sound odd, but I do not wish to forget these experiences. Seeing all that I’ve seen has added to my heart, as it has opened my eyes, and filled my brain with open-mindedness and reality. Although I am sheltered to an extent, and haven’t been homeless in my life, I am aware that such a state of living exists which many refer to as “HELL”.
They come in all shapes and sizes. While “touring” Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, I glanced out the window of the car, only to see three children (ages ranging from 3 to 7) digging through a pile of trash, looking for FOOD. Food? That’s what kitchens are for. How can a person (much less CHILD) dig through trash for breakfast? What am I even seeing? The car drove passed the children. Just like that. And it was over. I’ll never need to know what happened to those kids, because knowing wouldn’t make a difference. Wait a minute. If people can’t change the world, who can or will? Of course, God; but can’t humans also play a part in it? Enough of the helplessness and poor spirit, I know that I will do my part.
As cruel as it makes me feel, it’s only honest to admit that I had grown somewhat immune to such sights. Whenever I’d leave the house, my eyes would follow a needy person, but shift back. What can I really do? I mean, what can I REALLY do at THIS moment? Handing them a few coins won’t build them a house… Then of course there are those that build houses of boxes, pots and pans. Even worse, hand-made huts of cow dung. (YES, COW DUNG.) Many even sleep on the side of the dirt road.
How long will I continue to merely witness people in this condition? When will I stop asking myself questions that I know can’t be answered? Am I, too, impaired? Can I not educate myself, feed myself, and live in a state of capability to help the world? Of course I can.
For now: my options remain minimal. My plans for the future: do not.
I always wanted to be in the medical field, it always intrigued me. But it was only until after my eye-opening and unreal yet real experience that I directed my heart and mind to my future. I am currently a HOSA (Health Occupations Student of America) student and senior in high school. I know exactly what I want: to graduate high school, get accepted to a marvelous university, then Baylor Medical School (the best medical school in Texas), finally specialize in Pediatric Surgery and use the brain and benefit that God has blessed me with to travel the entire face of the earth as a member of DWB (Doctors Without Borders) to charitably operate on children that can’t pay for themselves to be operated on.
The REAL help that I’d like to do will take a couple decades. As for now, I can just peer down to the children below me and drop a coin. One day I hope to peer down to an operating table with a tiny body to which I know I am lending a surgical helping hand. The process will surely take a while, but the reward will be more than worth it in the end.