Where did this summer take you?
From what I heard, most people felt the warm sand next to the ocean or maybe even sat in a humid car for 9 hours to spend a weekend at grandmas. No matter how you spent it, summer is the time to relax and realize that school is only a far off thought. However, this wasn’t entirely true for two outstanding PGHS students: Kismet Isik and Annabel Davis. In fact, they did everything but relax. Over the summer, these students separately went to Latin America with only one task in mind: to make a positive impact in the world. Whether it was to raise money for a guinea pig farm or even deliver a child in the rugged mountains of Peru.
Kismet heard of a wonderful group called “Amigos” from her mother who went to Ecuador when she was in high school. This organization allows volunteers to lives in an indigenous Kichwa community high in the Andes. From all of her mother’s amazing stories, she knew that she had to partake in this adventure for herself. It would be 6 weeks of working, building leadership skills, improving her Spanish, and helping the people of Ecuador. When Kismet arrived, she was introduced to her partner and added to a community or 500 people.
They were assigned a project to begin a micro enterprise within the community. Exactly like the chinese proverb – “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, Kismet could have just given the community money but she knew that it would make much more of an impact if she taught them how to raise money. In the time that she was there, she raised $850 to start a guinea pig farm, hosted fundraisers, and taught the community how to apply for grants. Even though she was constantly busy, Kismet found time to hang out with her 5 host sisters. They didn’t really play any card games, so when she brought out the foreign game called “UNO”, they didn’t even know where to start. Once they learned, Kismet said, “ They had never played but that didn’t stop them from ever getting bored of it”.
If you were to take a grueling 12 hour flight to the distant land of Lima, Peru, then you would stumble upon Annabel Davis, who was working with people less fortunate than her. There, she spent half of the trip working at Mis Angelitos Preschool teaching English, giving medical examinations, and performing eye exams. She spent the second half of the trip in Villa El Salvador where she packaged and sanitized medical supplies, made gauze, and aided in the local pharmacy. She also assisted in cleaning infections and helped in different surgeries including a c-section. When she was asked why she went through all of this medical training, Annabel responded, “I hope to enter the medical field and would like to work in the Peace Corps as well as working with Doctors Without Borders”.
This journey had a large impact on Annabel’s life because it gave her the opportunity to work with and understand the perspectives of people in completely different situations. It changed her overall view of life and the world around her.
Both of these amazing girls would recommend these life changing experiences to others. They agree that it was both very difficult and overwhelming, but in the best ways possible. It adjusted their views on the world and was extremely enlightening. Through the trip, they learned leadership, medical skills, financial strategies, and that they can overcome any obstacle thrown at them.