My Life-Changing Trip to Kenya

7th Aug 2018

My Life-Changing Trip to Kenya

Photo of My Life-Changing Trip to Kenya by Dakota Leest

Living in Malaysia, I have never been exposed to severe poverty that many people lived in. I have always been envious of those people who had more without considering those ones who had less than me. Such ignorance did not allow to appreciate what I already had. I had a dream job at and everything I could wish. Instead, I kept complaining and wishing to get more money and wealth. My dad, who had always been travelling to the various parts of the world, used to encourage me to stop complaining and appreciate what I had. However, those words meant nothing to me until the day when my father took me on a business trip to Kenya to visit the factory site, which was under construction.

Although it was a hot day, the construction site workers did not stop digging. The endless pile of hard sand did not seem to be getting smaller. The thing is that the workers had limited resources and tools. They had only two shovels, a wheelbarrow, and two buckets. Though the ground was so dry, the sun greedily vaporized every bit of moisture, making it extremely hard for the workers to dig. They chanted as loud as they could, trying to keep up morale and encouraging each other.

As I stood there watching them, I could not but notice that they were very exhausted and thirsty. The general appearance of the workers as well as their physical exhaustion shocked me. They looked like drunken corpses as they were skinny and weak. They were struggling to walk as they used every bit of energy to push the shovels into the ground. The workers had the bloodshot eyes, and their dark eye bags were drooping as if they were swollen. The surface of the faded lips was dried up; it was cracking forming scabs.

“When would they have a break?” I asked their supervisor.

“They have two hours left to break,” he answered.

“How many breaks do they have per day?” I asked.

“They have two breaks per day, which include lunch break and quick water break,” he replied bluntly and calmly.

It was a considerable shock for me. I could not believe that the men working under such severe conditions could only drink water twice during the work day. Even office workers drink water more often yet they are in air-conditioned rooms, away from the scorching sun. Consequently, the feelings of overwhelming guilt came over me. I remembered how often I was not satisfied with the food that was cooked for me at home. I wanted a new recipe and complained about the same dishes that I had to eat. I bitterly regretted arguing with my dad on our way to the factory site. I used to tell him in a grumpy manner that I was starving begging him to hurry up. The longer I stared at them, the guiltier I felt about my past actions before that experience.

After some time, I left the construction site and walked to a nearby market to purchase a box full of water bottles. Thereafter, I took the box to the construction site for the workers to quench their thirst. The workers gathered around the box and their faces lit up. They grabbed the bottles and started to drink greedily. It was the first time I saw them smiling. I started enjoying the energetic and cheerful atmosphere that I had created for them. Meanwhile, it was high time for me and my dad to leave for lunch and we left the construction site.

On our way to the restaurant, the images of the determined construction workers could not get out of my mind. I realized that the feelings of guilt helped me gain a life changing experience. That occasion significantly affected my perception of life. At the restaurant, I ordered nothing despite the fact that, on our way to the construction site, I had been complaining to my dad about how hungry I was. When he heard that I was not hungry, he smiled warmly as he knew he had achieved his aim. Probably, my dad had planned that trip long ago.

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