Sometimes all it takes is one trip outside what we know as “normal” to change our perspective on life.  Eighteen year old Hilton High School student Addie Pelkey from Rochester NY, reflects on her recent GoPhilanthropic  / 4 Walls Journey to Nicaragua helping the families of El Sauce build new walls for their homes.
Going on this trip left me without words. It was breathtaking. It is surreal to visualize the situations that some families in El Sauce, Nicaragua live in. When I first arrived to the work site I was astonished. Here in New York, an average house is two stories and is a medium, big size but in contrast, in El Sauce, normal houses have dirt floors, random boards all over and no two story, high class development. The houses we build are of four walls of brick. This is the high class for the. When we finish building and the house is complete, the facial expressions and reactions of the families are priceless. I honestly did not know what true happiness looked like until those moments. Everything the families have in El Sauce is not much at all yet, it is everything and more to them. Impeccable. 
This trip really made me take a step back and obtain the realization that nowadays, so many things are taken for granted. Life in general is taken for granted. Majority of the people living in El Sauce do not even know or are not fully aware of everything that is out there in the world. Having to actually stay and spend time there, seeing everything for myself, really allowed me to open my eyes and it was saddening but at the same time it was beyond amazing. To be given such an unbelievably, awesome opportunity to be able to experience and see how the families/people in El Sauce live, words cannot even begin to explain how sensational it was. Though the people of El Sauce may not be fully aware of everything that the world offers, in reality they don’t care. Walking the streets and seeing everyone all cheerful and smiley is one the best things anyong could ask for. If you were in a bad mood, once you arrived to El Sauce, all those negative vibes are gone. Everybody is carefree. No worries, just fun, freedom, and happiness. That is all anyone could ask for.
From being in El Sauce and Nicaragua in general, you begin to realize that every day is truly a gift and you should always treasure everything that happens and everyone you meet because you seriously never do know when everything you have could be taken away. Seeing everyone smile yet they live in some of the most unsafe, unsturdy constructions of houses is saddening but yet it’s amazing to actually see how they are all just happy that they have a place they call home; that’s the most important thing. 
I went on this trip this past February break and it was the best school trip I have ever been on. I didn’t even want to get on the plane, let alone leave each hotel as we went from El Sauce to Granada to La Laguna de Apoyo. I will forever cherish the moments I have had with these families and the memories that were made. I will never fail to remember the people I have met and the friendships that were created. I see my life in a totally different perspective than before this trip and that is one of the best things that resulted from being given such an incredible opportunity. I will miss the sound of roosters crowing not only in the morning when I wake up, but also throughout the whole entire day, wherever I happen to be (then again, that is why I purchased a rooster crowing off of itunes to use as my alarm). Words can’t explain how grateful I am to have been able to go to El Sauce and experience all of these things and I hope in the future I will return some day.
Addie Pelkey