Day 6


Today featured the biggest departure from the rest of the trip. It was not an ancient, grand construction project. It was not a company. It was not a university. It was a sanctuary for children separated from their parents.

I went in thinking this would be a solemn visit, but feeling uplifted. The work that this organization does is incredible. They provide these children with housing, food, and most importantly, the opportunity to be children.  And if I had not known the circumstances for which they were there, I would have assumed they were “ordinary” children. Though they act “ordinary,” they certainly are not. Their resilience is inspiring; despite all of the hardships they have been through, they can still play basketball with a bunch of strange Americans with smiles on their face. It is an experience that will stick with me for the rest of my life because it gave me a greater perspective for the world outside my own, and inspires to do something with my life that will help people of similar circumstances.

Afterward, we went to the Greater Wide Goose Pagoda, an ancient Buddhist temple. There we saw beautiful shrines made of gold, jade, and the like. There I also saw the Smiling Buddha, something I had always thought to be a western perversion of a religious figure but learned that it was ancient representation, and got to rub its belly for luck. Given how lucky I was to go on this trip, I don’t know if I can handle anymore luck!

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