Sorry I have been out of touch for a while but here is what I have been up to over the last few weeks. I have missed you all so much. I would like to tell you a little bit about what I have been doing.
I have seen some amazing things, met some wonderful people, tried some tasty foods, and been inches from HUGE lions. I have also experienced new cultures like I have never seen before.
My journey began in Maun, Botswana, Africa. I brought some of my best friends with me to be a part of this incredible experience. We were all changed by what we saw.
I was able to spend time with many kids and teens that go to school there. Their schools do not have the room to take care of this many people. Some of the classes had hundreds of kids in rooms smaller than most living rooms in the US. We played sports. I tested out my football skills (soccer in the US). We also played songs without by brothers. Felt strange to sing without my brothers but many of the people knew the songs, which surprised me considering that many do not have TV or radio.
I also spent time with some of the babies that were born to mothers carrying the HIV AIDS virus. Out of the entire trip this was one of the most touching moments. I miss those children already. I was close to coming back home with many Joe Jr.s.
One of the most powerful things to see is the joy the people had with so little material things in their lives. They were happy. Some without homes or bathrooms were still happy and wonderful to be with. It makes you think about your own life and the things you have. These people might not have a bed to sleep on but are still happy with their lives.
We went to a couple villages where there were 7 kids with one mother in a home made out of clay and soda bottles. We were able to bring them blankets to stay warm because the nights were so cold.
We all stayed in big tents while we were there with hot water bottles for our feet because it was so cold. Outside we could hear the sounds of monkeys climbing on the tent and Hippos close by every night.
We also went on a couple safaris – a walking safari, horseback safari, and a land rover off-road safari where you are inches from deadly animals.
Occasionally we made our safari guide mad by asking where Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King lived.
I was asked while I was there if I would be a part of an event where kids were taught to respect themselves, others, and your environment. Prince William was the main guest and we spent a lot of time together. It was an honor to get to know him and I look forward to getting to see him again soon.
For the future, I plan on going back to Africa, as well as other nations, to help out in any way I can. I feel like hands-on work is where I feel most satisfied. I look forward to going to different places – not only Africa where I have new friends – but all around the world. It is my goal to spend 50% of my time and life doing what I can to help others.