Finding Purpose

Discuss how an event, novel or experience has significantly influenced you or has changed your life.

We were inches from the edge; they were shouting “Dale la vuelta! Dale la vuelta!” (“Go around!”). Unless they moved their truck forward, we would plunge to our deaths, our tires were beginning to slip over the edge of the 2,000-foot cliff. Our group prepared for the trip for months. It was going to be a grueling 25-hour trip into the Andes in Southern Peru and a lot of hard work once we reached Marca Bamba. I was determined to build, fix, assist, and do whatever the townsfolk needed to be done. I was not prepared for what did happen. The mountain road was only 1.5 cars wide, which made it nearly impossible to pass the oncoming buses or mining trucks without the tires of our truck slipping off the edge and a breathless prayer to keep us from plunging to our deaths. Nor was I prepared for the much less terrifying hardship. The airline lost my luggage, leaving me with only my backpack that contained 1 change of clothes and 6 granola bars. I endured 19th century plumbing, dirty living quarters, and the pangs of hunger. My trip mates shared their provisions, but I still lost 7 pounds in 10 days. I was far, far from home.After traveling to what seemed like the end of the earth, we arrived in Marca Bamba and began our work. We played soccer everyday with the kids and spent the evenings entertaining the townsfolk with skits, shows, and singing. Even though I was long way from home, I felt at home with the townspeople. They were different from us but we shared many values like loving families, wanting to achieve, and laughing at the same jokes. I felt a connection with them. In the U.S., people are materialistic but in Marca Bamba there was only one television and one phone for the whole town. The townspeople were quite content because they invested in their values and faith instead of things.My trip to Marca Bamba changed the direction of my life; I discovered what I wanted to do with my life. The most noticeable thing the town lacked was medical facilities. I saw their need and I remembered the words from the U.S. Declaration of Independence, “those who have the ability to take action, have the responsibility to take action.” At that moment, I knew my purpose: to serve others. It is something that will guide me the rest of my life. I want to give to others. In college, I will find ways and organizations to get involved in helping other students and people. My studies at Hillsdale College will get me ready for graduate school where I hope to achieve my ultimate service goal: becoming a medical doctor. Then I hope to have a practice and serve my community and volunteer for Doctors Without Borders. Perhaps one day I can even return to my friends in Marca Bamba.

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