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The poverty, the hunger, the simple joy from a bracelet that took three seconds to make. These are the things I will always remember. The vibrant uncut strings that hang from my wrist will never let me forget.

Not only will I remember the sadness, but the happiness as well. Like going on a teeter totter with Jake, his calve muscles taut as he sat there, holding me up in the air. The smile on his face was slightly devious yet somehow joyful. His eyes were squinted as he faced the sunlight looking up at me. Up and down, up and down, over and over again. His smile suddenly turned from joyous to shock and fear as he sent me into the air and over the handle bars. I won’t forget hiking up a mountain looking for people to invite to church shouting “Ven a la iglesia!”, and then halfway through it pouring down rain. I won’t forget staying up until three in the morning, wore out from the long strenuous day, just because Jake wouldn’t stop talking about Bigfoot, and then waking up with writing all over me because I fell asleep during his lecture. I won’t forget trying to talk to people in Spanish and having them laugh at me because of it was so terrible, or riding on a bus for three hours straight, with death flashing before my eyes on every steep, sharp curve. Looking out the windows and seeing the mountains rise from the ground, natures skyscrapers. The fresh air rushing through the windows, cooling off our bodies and relieving the nausea for just a moment. The trees and cacti dotting the mountainous landscape like spots on a lady bug. People walking alongside the dusty road, balancing baskets atop their heads. The beauty of the country.

Even though there’s a thousand happy memories that could easily outweigh the sad ones, I won’t forget those either. Children’s scrawny legs, the size of my arms. The empty space in their shirts where giggling stomachs should have been sticking out. The radiant joy filled smile that only lasted for a second as I handed them a piece of candy. Dogs walking around like living corpses, because the people can’t even afford to feed themselves.

As I look at the vibrant uncut strings hanging from my wrist, I remember all these things, and promise never to forget.




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