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Life Lessons-A Journey Through Kenya

December 2, 2014

One of the benefits of having a parent as the Director of the School’s Global Oral Health Initiative? You get to do your volunteer work in Kenya.  We’re sharing a guest post today and hope you enjoy.


On my latest service trip to Kenya with the Kenya Summer Research Program at the University of Michigan I had a moment of reflection. I thought about my life, and how it might impact others, but never anticipated how others might impact my life during this journey. During my most recent visit, I found myself in a small village in Meru, in the central region of Kenya, where I met a little boy named Patrick. Patrick lived in an HIV/AIDS orphanage that I visited, and it was following that visit that I had this reflective moment.
“Surprisingly, this enclosure looked like an enchanted forest with many trees and brightly colored plants that surrounded a building and hid it from view. Although timid and nervous, I managed to exit from the old beat up vehicle that had just brought me there. As I looked around, my eyes immediately fell upon a soccer ball. This soccer ball wasn’t just lying somewhere dusty and forgotten. I saw a little boy, Patrick, around 10 years old, juggling and doing tricks with it. I was immediately drawn to it and to him, like a beautiful ray of light. Almost without verbal communication, we interacted with each other, and for the next 2 hours I did what comes natural to me. I played soccer with Patrick, chipping, kicking, juggling, and punting that ball barefoot across the dusty earth, enjoying my time in this moment. Our language was a universal one that required no words, but clear communication was always present as we kicked the ball back and forth, smiling, and shrieking with delight at the many kicks and volleys. To be honest, I was so impressed with Patrick’s soccer skills that I wished he could visit the U.S., because I knew he had a gift much more extraordinary than mine…and that’s when I realized that Patrick would never have the same opportunities that I have had, and thus his dreams may not ever come true.”
From this experience, I realized that I take too much for granted; and from that day forward I have tried to live my life as though I have no second chances, because I know Patrick doesn’t. He has impacted my life for the better and I can only hope that I have also touched his.

By: Anjuli Kapila, Volunteer
High School Junior

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