Senior has life-changing trip

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Garrett Rountree

Senior Garrett Rountree shows village children pictures on his phone.

Brice Sylestine, Writer

Lounging at the beach or sleeping in late may be a typical summer day for many teenagers, but for senior Garrett Rountree, the summer is better spent helping others.

This past summer, Rountree spent two weeks on a group mission trip to Malawi, Africa. To get there, he and the others in his group took a plane to New York and then to South Africa. From there, they traveled through various countries by bus until they reached Malawi.  The two weeks were spent helping the villages there, especially the local children.

“While we were there, we focused on Kids Ministry,” Rountree said. “We helped and played with the kids in the day, then invited them to church services at night, being it was a missions trip.”

From the moment he arrived, there was a noticeable difference and according to Rountree, the people of Malawi were very hospitable toward he and his group.

“One thing that stood out to me about the people is how genuinely nice everyone was,” Rountree said. “From the moment we stepped off the bus to the moment we left, we were treated like the only people alive. The people of Malawi had such high respect for Americans and they showed it in everything they did.”

I want to go back as many times as I can so I’ll never forget.”

— Garrett Rountree

According to Rountree, Malawi is 100 percent different than his home environment. Noticeable differences were the lack of air condition, as there are very few buildings. There was also little water available for the group, let alone the people. Typical water the people drank was very dirty and unfiltered. Rountree said he and his group drank water bottles whenever they could find some.

“This trip taught me how not to take the luxuries in America for granted,” Rountree said. “The kids in Africa literally play with dead birds as toys and kick rocks as if they were soccer balls. That’ll make you think twice about getting upset over first world problems.”

Rountree said the next opportunity he has to go back to Malawi, he will in a heartbeat.

‘I cannot wait to go back to the place that changed my perspective on life,” Rountree said. “Malawi made me realize how privileged we are in America, so I want to go back as many times as I can so I’ll never forget.”