Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Everyone Smiles in the Same Language
by senior Caroline G. for Roots and Shoots
I recently travelled with a group of students to an indigenous village in Argentina to visit with the Guarani people that live there. After a long walk down a dirt road and then through tall grass and trees, we came upon the village. We saw tin huts, a fire pit, and some clothing lines. There were Coca Cola cans and potato chip bags scattered in trash piles in the dirt. As we walked further into the small village, we saw groups of children playing and their mothers working nearby.
After trying to introduce ourselves in Spanish to some of the children, we soon realized that they only spoke their indigenous language of Guarani. At first, we were unsure of what to do as we wondered how to communicate with the young kids, but then we realized how all kids communicate before they can speak any language: they play, laugh and smile. We all took to a game of tag immediately. By the end of the day, I felt like I had developed a meaningful relationship with one little boy, and we hadn’t even spoken a real word to each other.
The children I met that day live a completely different life than I do. The challenges they face, such as the lack of proper medical care, education, and even getting enough to eat, are things that I am lucky enough to not have to think twice about. However, despite the challenges their lives may present, they always find a reason to smile. Meeting those children was not only fun, but also inspiring; they taught me that there will always be setbacks in life, but if you find the positive in each situation, even if it’s small, you can always end each day happy and appreciative for the life you live.
However, you don’t have to travel to a foreign country in order to make memorable experiences with new people. You would be amazed at the interesting people you can meet in your own neighborhood or school.
Here are a few tips for how to meet new people in your community and start new friendships:
Join a school club that interests you! You will get to know people who are passionate about the same things you are.
Meet your neighbors. That elderly woman who lives down the street just may have an intriguing story to tell. It would brighten both of your days to get to know one another.
Volunteer at your local elementary school or preschool! Sometimes it takes a young person to change the way you see things.
Live on the edge and start a conversation with the other person in the cereal aisle. You never know, you may just form a friendship over a shared love of Lucky Charms.
The amazing thing is that every single person on the Earth has a different story to tell. Each person has a lesson to share if only they have somebody to tell it to. Now the only question is: are you willing to listen?