201612 Elite Swim Team LB

The OXperience

OXadventure is all about taking the youth out of their comfort zone and inspiring them through charity, travel, and adventure to shape them mentally and create future leaders.

I found out about OXadventure from a poster at college. There were organizing a trip to India at the time but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join them. The reason why I decided to join them this time is because I really appreciate it when someone shows effort to help me. So, I wanted to be the reason for making someone’s day and to know what it feels like to be the reason that someone smiled.

On the first day, I was very nervous and worried about how I was going to deal with 14 people that I have never met keeping in mind that I will be spending two weeks with them! I just told myself that I will just go there and treat everyone like I have known them for a long time. I won’t change anything about who I am or put myself under pressure.

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Our trip consisted of three days of charity work and visiting temples to get to know the many aspects of Nepal’s culture. I got to work with lovely kids, and I still remember this girl named Sweety. Just as her name suggests, she was such a sweetheart. Wherever we went or whatever we did, she was always there. I don’t know if she was sneaking out of her classes but she always kept us company. Sweety even wanted to help us with the construction. We’d tell her to leave it to us and that we didn’t want her to get hurt, but she was always eager to help. She even helped us with lifting and moving little blocks.

On the other days of the trip we went trekking in Pokhara, and that’s where we made the best memories. We met Manohar and Yogish there, our local hike guides. Yogish was also our yoga instructor. We started and ended every day with yoga stretches with him, and even had some along the hike to ensure safety while trekking and avoid injuries like twisting our ankles.

The first day was the hardest and I almost gave up. However, Abdulwahab, another volunteer on the trip, motivated me. He was saying things like “Man, just keep going! We’ll find some orange at the end of the road!” For some reason he managed to persuade me with that. Weirdly enough, the idea of chilling on the ground, resting and having this orange (that never existed) once we arrived at camp kept me motivated. Well, that was until we got to the stairs. I’m telling you, everyone there hated those stairs, but the funny thing was that what made me survive the stairs is that we found oxen everywhere! I thought if these cows can do it, why in the world can’t I?

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The next morning, after yoga and breakfast, it was time to get moving again. The first words that came out of my mouth were ‘Oh, God! Please, no!’ Why? Because there was a massive staircase, again! That day reminded me of Led Zeppelin’s song ‘Stairway to Heaven’. I mean, each day has it’s own special moments and memories, but the third and fourth days were very tough. I personally stayed in my tent because there was a storm. Everything was fine until I needed to use the restroom. I pulled it together and convinced myself that I really didn’t care about the storm. I walked out and realized that there was this little dog following me everywhere, too scared to be alone in that storm! I wasn’t able to get rid of the dog no matter what I did or what language I spoke!

I have many lessons from that trip, the biggest of which is being grateful for all that I have in my life. Prior to the trip, I used to look at what other people had with envy, and I would always question why I didn’t have what they did. I used to look at the glass as half empty. After that trip, I instantly started looking at the glass half full. My experience with OXadventure taught me how to not be materialistic, and appreciate the things I’m blessed with.

This experience has inspired me to help people by sharing my personal escapades, even the rawest of things that not everyone would be comfortable with sharing. So much so, I even started a blog. In it, I share random thoughts, experiences, and life-happenings (from my weight loss journey to long term life and career goals). I can safely say that I am a much better person today than I was before the trip, thanks to OXadventure. I’m very grateful for this unforgettable and life changing experience.

 

This article was written by Hamad Al-Shakhs

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