Words from Youth: Rethinking Happiness

By Joelle

Age 16, from Mercer Island, WA

Today we went to a small town called Segunda Cruz up in the mountains. I had no idea what to expect when I got there. On one hand it was very similar to what I had expected – a  little village made up of small houses and farms. But on the other hand it totally took me by surprise. The people were smiling and happy and it was so easy to interact with them even though I didn’t always know what to say.

There was one child in particular that I really connected with. His name was Christobal and from the first time I took his hand, he wouldn’t let go. Occasionally he would run off to visit with someone else but he would always come back to me with an even bigger smile than before.

Being in Segunda Cruz was an eye opening experience for me. Coming from Mercer Island, there is no where even remotely similar to the living conditions of Segunda Cruz near me. It made me not only appreciate what I had, but to also rethink what happiness really is. There are people where I come from who have literally everything but can always find something to complain about. Then there are the people I met today, like Christobal who has almost nothing but still radiates happiness.

Today was the first time I really had an experience that changed the way I see the world and I sincerely hope it’s not the last.

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