Life Out of the United States This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I was born in Swaziland, a country in southern Africa.Swaziland is the epitome of what people think of as Africa: areas of lushvegetation and large mountains, as well as dry plains scattered with huts. Thecountry was not extensively modern, but still allowed a comfortable existence. Myparents lived there while working for the Mennonite Central Committee, a missionorganization.

When I was one year old, my family's mission ended. We spentsome time in Europe and arrived back in the United States to settle down in ahouse my grandfather owned. My parents decided to stay in America for a while,but it wasn't long before they started to think about another term in Africa.When I was nine, we headed back to the continent where I was born.

Sudanwas in the midst of a civil war when we arrived in 1991, but I was excited aboutliving in this new place. This was a dusty and dry place, a stark contrast fromgreen Swaziland. We were in the center of the Sahara Desert, and everything wascovered in sand. Several other "MCCers" (as we called ourselves) fromAmerica and Canada were there. There was also a man named Willie Rhimer who livedin Kenya, who was in charge of all the MCCers in Sudan, and he visitedfrequently. Whenever he came, he brought many things we couldn't get there,including chocolate, cereal, motorcycle parts and medicine. Twice a year, all theMCCers would travel to Kenya and visit Willie and his family to take a break fromthe sometimes harsh life of Sudan.

The other MCCers in Sudan werescattered around the country. Keith Miller, who was in his twenties, livedseveral hours away in the town of Atbara. I admired Keith and loved hearing abouthis adventures. He lived in a house that was practically on top of the NileRiver; the poles supporting his house went down into the water and were attachedto the bank. He lived with his cat and occasionally worked as a teacher, butsince the school was closed for a while, Keith spent his time building things andtraveling.

One time he combined both hobbies. He purchased lumber from anold man selling wood by the river and set about constructing a boat. His plan wasto sail down the Nile as far as he could. After working on the boat for months,he finally set sail. We didn't hear from him for some time, but one day he showedup at our door. He had sailed a respectable distance up into the northern part ofthe country, but his travels came to an end one foggy night when he hit a portionof the river that hid large jagged rocks. The boat was torn apart, and Keithbarely escaped. He walked along the river for a while until he saw an open fire.It was a fisherman's hut, and the fisherman welcomed him and allowed him to stayfor the night. The next day he caught a bus back to the city.

Sometimes Iaccompanied Keith on his expeditions and he would teach me how to manage indifferent situations. Usually this meant learning how to bargain with themerchants in a market or getting a seat on a bus instead of having to sit on theroof.

After three years in Sudan, my family again returned to America. Iwas excited about returning to Pennsylvania and seeing my friends again.

I have been to more than 20 countries on four continents, lived in manyhouses and gone to even more schools. I have been lucky to see famous andhistoric sites in faraway places. While living in the same house and knowing thesame people has its benefits, I'm glad I haven't done things the same way myentire life. I expect I will have many more journeys in the future.



Someday... by Jeanette M., Kinzets, PA

The Experience of a Lifetime by Lisa K., Quincy, MA

Family Appreciation by Nicholas M., Kenmore, NY

And They Came by Alexandra F., Mesa, AZ

My Kenyan Flag by Delvin K., Paterson, NJ



   


By Cassandra C.,
Massapequa, NY



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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Jillian W. said...
Dec. 27, 2009 at 9:57 am
This is great! I've also lived in many different countries even though I'm originally American and I'm only 17. I'm really happy my parents chose this lifestyle because I've met so many amazing people at the international schools I've been to who have also had such interesting lives.
 
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