My Story Was Similar to Theirs...

Hi, my name is Aynalem and I am one of the lucky girls who got the chance to go to Nicaragua with Project Lumina. 

This trip has been an amazing experience and I have learned and grown so much because of it. During this trip I faced many challenges and one of them was visiting the boy’s orphanage.

While visiting the boy’s orphanage, I met a group of boys that were energized by the attention they got from us. I also saw how competitive they were with each other and for the opportunities that were presented to them. This gave me a flash back of the time I spent in an orphanage. I was adopted from Ethiopia when I was 6 years old. I lived in an orphanage for most of my childhood and I have experienced not having parents around. The people I was around became like my family and that’s what I saw at the boy’s orphanage. They are competitive playing soccer and finding food, but at the end of the day they all loved each other like family. Even though we spent 2 hours at the orphanage, it felt like I connected with the boys in so many ways. It was hard leaving them not only because we were having a blast, but because I remember leaving my orphanage and all my friends behind. The scary part for me was not knowing what was going to happen to them. I learned to be grateful for what I have and live life for what it is. I have realized how different my life would have been if I was not adopted.

We also visited group called Los Papitos. This is a group of disabled people of all ages. We were able to go and experience what they do for a living and that is making handbags. It was inspiring to see how something so little can make them so happy. This experience has made me feel grateful for what I am able to do every day.

I’m so grateful for my body and what it is able of doing. During this trip I was able to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. I learned that surfing is more challenging than what I thought it would have been but life is a challenge and you have to keep pushing yourself.