A Better Person / More To Life

August 25, 2008
By
I was raised in a middle class family where I once lived a one-dimensional life. I have everything I ever needed and everything I ever wanted. However, the value of appreciation was absent in me. Growing up in a materialistic world, I thought having expensive items would make me a better person.

On a wintry December day, I went downstairs and noticed my grandfather packing his luggage with tons of clothes. I asked, “Where are you going?” He responded, “I am going to Vietnam. Do you want to come with me?” I swiftly replied, “No, there is nothing to do there.” “There are lots of delicious food there and beautiful places,” he answered back. Since I really had nothing to do at home, I decided to go along with him to Vietnam. The plane ride was awfully long.

When we arrived in Vietnam, my grandfather and I took a taxi to one of the poorest areas in Vietnam. “Are we heading in the wrong direction?” I thought to myself. There were no signs of beautiful places or delicious foods. Surprisingly, we were not going in the wrong direction at all. My grandfather then told me that we were going to go donate clothes to the needy. For a minute, I was stunned. Then I began to wonder why every Christmas, my grandfather would pack plenty of shirts, pants, socks, and even shoes for such a short vacation. We stopped at an orphanage called Hy Vọng Nhà, which translates to Hope House. While distributing these clothes to the orphans, I saw the warm smiles upon their faces and their welcoming arms to accept anything that would be beneficial towards their needs. One girl caught my attention. The sheer joy in her eyes while receiving a dress was mesmerizing. As I helped my grandfather, my perception of being a better person changed. I kept questioning myself, “Does having expensive stuff truly make me better than all these orphans here?”

After an hour or so of donating clothes, my grandfather and I were treated to a pleasant meal and had the opportunity to get to know some of the orphans. Hearing their stories of how they ended up here was quite poignant. It was time to head off back to our hotel. I knew that I would never forget this remarkable episode of giving to others.

Upon arriving home after a few days in Vietnam, I reflected on this significant experience which truly showed me how bad life could be for anyone and that I should be more appreciative of things, such as having a home, food to eat everyday, and loving parents. Thus, I have learned that there is more to life than just material wealth.





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