lizI’ve¬†always wanted to do something to make a difference in life. Sometimes you seek these things out and sometimes they find you. World Wide Child Relief Foundation found me. I was presented with the idea of traveling to Nicaragua, and in less than two months later I was nervously, boarding a plane. The next morning after arriving in Nicaragua we loaded up the vans and set out for the schools where we would be working. When we arrived I began pulling out balls, frisbees, and other equipment for the kids. With each game, the kids laughed, cheered, and smiled. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh with these humble, happy faces. They ran around in neatly pressed school uniforms and didn’t notice their inadequate, worn out shoes.

The more time I spent with these kids the more I grew to love them. As each day went by I didn’t want to leave them. The hard work, heat, and primitive surroundings were unnoticeable as I got caught up in their joy for simple things. As the last full day came to a close one young boy sat alone staring at me with a smile. It’s funny how a smile is the same in any language. I picked up two basketballs and handed one to this child, Randy. I demonstrated a simple dribbling drill and gestured to him to copy me. He tried with a smile. I showed him another, and before I knew it we had a couple additional kids interested. I continued with a slightly harder drill. Randy tired and I caught his ball before it rolled off while he laughed. I tried a few more and as I looked up I was surrounded by kids. I continued with some tricks as the kids laughed, cheered, and watched in wonder. At the end, I was surrounded by hugs. I reflected on that experience and thought how incredible it would be to find joy in the simple things of life. How would it be to live simply and understand that’s there is true joy in the simplicities of life? The Nicaraguan people have changed my life and I feel blessed to be a part of something that wonderful.