“The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller
Don’t ever be afraid to pick your head up and look out beyond the distance. Some of life’s most beautiful sights are closer than we may think.
When we ran in the Miami Half Marathon a few weeks ago, it began at 6:00am. By the time we started running and made our way onto the MacArthur Causeway (which leads into South Beach), the sun was rising, and the cruise ships were docked. Although the photo is a bit blurry, it was a beautiful sight, to say the least.
A few weeks ago, my brother, grandfather, and I traveled to the Canyons and Park City in Utah to ski for a few days with some of our cousins and uncles. When we arrived, the weather was nice and cold, and much different from Florida’s typical weather—so we were in for a bit of a shock, to say the least. Granted, I had also never seen so much snow in my life, so it was pretty exciting getting off the plane and looking around at so many mountains covered in snow.
We hopped into a car and made our way to Canyons Village, which is around 45 minutes away from the airport. On the way, we passed Salt Lake City as well as the Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics. As you can see in the bottom left photo, we were able to see one of the ski jumps that was used during the Olympics, and is still currently being used for practice. Upon arriving at the Village where we were staying, we unloaded our bags, and walked around outside—enjoying the incredible weather. Although we didn’t ski our first day here, we stopped by the local strip consisting of restaurants and small shops. And of course, we stopped for dinner along the way. After a long day of traveling, we were ready to turn in for the night, eagerly (and anxiously) awaiting the opportunity to ski the following morning!
After our trip to Colombia, my sister and I traveled to Israel for a few days to visit family. However, before arriving at our final destination, we made a few stops along the way. I’ll post more about our travel adventures later on this week, but today’s Snapshot Challenge is a picture I took in Praça do Comércio, also known as the main square in Lisbon, Portugal. The area was beautiful, the weather was incredible, and we couldn’t have asked for a better sight to kick off our journey to Portugal, Spain, and Israel.
Yesterday, I wrote about Boca Azul in Cartagena, Colombia. Boca Azul is supported by Foundation Casa Italia, and it is a school in La Boquilla that serves more than 300 of the poorest children who are in the need of the most help. The children who attend Boca Azul are between the ages of 1 to 14 years old and receive a full-time education, school support, one meal per day (which makes this the only place in the city for children to receive a free meal), first aid and medical attention, and after school activities. While taking a tour of Boca Azul, some of the students put on a show for us, and as you can see based on the picture below, they performed traditional dances of the area. The students pictured below are some of the most hardworking students in the school with the highest grades, and as a reward, they are able to learn the traditional dances. They took so much pride in their performance, and as you can imagine, it was a beautiful sight to see.
This week’s Snapshot Challenge photo was taken in La Boquilla in Cartagena, Colombia. The lower class individuals in the city live in this area, and the boats you see below are handmade from some of the local residents. Offering canoe rides to tourists is a main source of income to the locals in La Boquilla, so some individuals make the boats, others row the boats, and a few are in charge of working with tour groups to bring in tourists. Seeing so many people from the community come together to raise funds for their neighborhood is truly a beautiful sight, which is why I chose this particular picture for this week’s Snapshot Challenge.
To conclude my story-telling from my trip to Guatemala for a medical mission this past summer, I’ll leave you with this story. A mother sat down at my triage table with her twelve-year-old daughter and two-year old baby. Upon inquiring into her medical needs and what we could do for the three of them, the mother explained that she had been experiencing depression for quite some time now. Her twelve-year-old daughter had severe asthma, and her mother could not afford to purchase the necessary medication for her. Seeing her daughter so sick and constantly suffering from asthma attacks led the mother into a state of depression. Feeling as though there was nothing she could do for her daughter, the mother had been experiencing feelings of hopelessness and despair on behalf of her daughter. She could not bear seeing her daughter in such a terrible state.
I promised the mother that the doctors would take good care of her daughter, and provide her with the medication needed to help better her asthma. She continuously thanked me, as I walked them over to the room where the pediatricians were working. Later in the day, the mother approached me with a bag of medication and thanked me for my help. She explained that she, as well as her newborn and twelve-year-old daughter had each been seen by a doctor, and that her daughter had received asthma medication to last for four months. She was so appreciative, but she asked if we happened to have any more medicine, seeing as our mission would not be returning for a total of six months.
I walked into the makeshift pharmacy, and the pharmacist said there were only three boxes of asthma medications remaining, but they were not the same kind as the young girl received from the doctor. The mother asked if there was anything I could do, because she didn’t want her daughter to experience such awful asthma attacks again once the medication ran out four months later. I took the new box of asthma medicine and asked the pediatrician if it would be okay to give to the young girl, and he mentioned it was fine; it was just a different brand of medicine. I gave the mother the last three boxes of asthma medication for her daughter, and she actually jumped for joy.
I am not able to understand what it is like to be a parent who has to see his or her child suffer from such severe asthma attacks, but I was able witness firsthand how excited this mother was to receive just enough medicine to last a few extra months for her little girl. Something so simple such as asthma medication is not something I would typically think too much of. But unfortunately, this happens to be a given of life: we often take things for granted without realizing that somewhere in the world, someone would be beyond appreciate of such a possession—especially this particular medication. Seeing the joy in this mother’s eyes was most definitely a beautiful sight to see, and there is no other story I would have wanted to use to conclude the sharing of my experiences on a medical mission to Guatemala this past June.
On the last medical mission I attended in June, one of the volunteers purchased customized soccer jerseys for all of the children at Misioneros Del Camino. Not only did they get brand new jerseys, but they also received matching shorts, socks, and hats, to make it official. The second they put on their new soccer uniforms, they separated into two teams and started playing. The children were so excited to have been given what so many of us take for granted, and that in itself was truly a beautiful sight to see.