When my Husband and I got married, we put the whole thing on the cheapest way we could. The wedding was never going to be the event of our life, instead our adventures together were going to be the events of our lives. We had a small beach wedding including close family members and a setting sun. An evening I will never forget. Soon after tying the knot we went on trip to the small Island of Exuma which is located in the Bahamas. Blue skies and clear water, and best of all meeting some of the most welcoming people in the world, was how I spent my first few weeks married to the man of my dreams.
My husband, works for a non-profit that puts on assemblies for schools and encourages students to give back to their schools, communities and the world through volunteerism. We took the assembly to the Students of Exuma.
The classrooms were small and overcrowded, yet were filled with attentive faces waiting to hear what we had to say.
As I looked around I found a familiarity in the school. There were projects proudly displayed on the walls and writings scrawled across the chalk boards. And through the glass less windows I could hear the small 7 man marching band practicing their heart out. The students had remarkable manners and were all on their best behavior for the foreign visitors. During lunch time we got to hang out with the students and really got to know some of the kids fairly well. They told us their dreams and their gossip. One student even sang a song for us. If I was a record producer I might have given him the spot light.
Although the Island of Exuma is a popular destination for multi-million dollar Yacht owners and Island hoppers, the small Island was suffering from something horrible. The vice principle provided us with some background information about the student body that left us shocked. She told us that the school was in need of help. The students, let me rephrase that… the children of the island were contracting AIDs from adults and spreading it to their peers.
As we began to talk to the students in small groups we found that they were hurting. Some would come to us in tears thanking us for our encouraging words, and some even spontaneously stood up and began to encourage their peers. We were telling them that their situations should not define their life, but that the good things that they do, should be what defines them. Before we got to the Island we had no idea that there was a life threatening issue at hand, but once we began to hear the outcry we knew that we were there for a reason. No more did the teenagers and children of Exuma want to be the dying generation. they wanted to go to college, be doctors and lawyers. They wanted to see the world and make a change in their small country.
It was remarkable to find that just telling a person that they can do something great was all that was needed to lift a cloud of depression from an overcrowded classroom. Even if they were doing something as simple as volunteering at their own school, it made them feel better. They inspired me. Who was I to ever complain that my life sucked. Later that week we spoke at a community center. We only advertised to the students that we spoke with and yet the room was filled to maximum capacity with adults. The response from the community was great, and it was all because the students of Exuma were driving the desire for change.
If you’re feeling sorry about your life, or depressed about a situation maybe it’s time to give to someone else. The world is a grand and amazing place, don’t think that the edge of the world is as far as your eyes can see, because there is much more to it than that.