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July 21, 2002

The little kindnesses that I see here never cease to amaze me. I just know, without a doubt, that my stay here will award me with the most valuable life lessons possible. I have already felt effected and affected by the people I have met, the stories I have heard, and the scenes I have witnessed. I have said it before, but it deserves repeating....I feel endlessly thankful that I have the chance to be here for a year, to live within a different culture for a year, and to learn endless amounts of lessons for a year.

Lavmo and IPeople here, on the whole, are truly more generous than I would have imagined, especially when it is considered that they have very little material wealth. Not too long ago, I was watching the students compete in a soccer tournament. Probably half of the team plays barefooted. I noticed on particular student, though, playing with just one shoe. My first assumption, as odd as it was, was that he could not afford to buy the pair and so just bought one shoe. I later came to realize that he gave the other shoe to one of his teammates. You see, he kicked with his right foot and his friend kicked with his left. So, it was only logical to split the pair.

The philosophy here, which is drastically different to in the United States, is that if you have a lot of something, you can share a lot. But, if you have a little bit of something, you still share a little. Again, a lesson that I certainly can take to heart.