My heart raced like a racehorse leaving the gate at the crack of the pistol as we .

My heart jumped into my throat and I had trouble breathing as .

the ground dropped away from us and I seemed to fall upwards into the sky. This was my first .

experience of flying. This was also the first time I had been away from my parents. I wasn't quite .

sure how I would get along without my fathers advice on all matters that came up, or my mothers .

loving looks as I said goodnight to her every night. I was on my way with a mission team from .

our church headed towards Kenya, Africa for six weeks, but I figured that I could survive. .

You know, it's funny. Six weeks seems to drag out when you have to go to schoolMonday through Friday, but over there, it just seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. I .

experienced so much in that time and came back a little wiser, and with lessons that I will never .

forget. .

The first lesson is that no matter how beautiful a country is, it can still have poverty spread throughout its land. This surprised me. I had never been exposed to something like it before. The countryside was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The mountains .

lay spread out in front of me with the clouds covering their peaks, looking like marshmallow .

creme on top of chocolate ice cream. Behind, the sky was as blue as the askew eyes of a .

Siamese cat. The trees lay out like a velvet carpet of deep green. It wasn't at all hot or humid. In .

fact, compared to Florida, it was great. A nice crisp breeze was always gently blowing, keeping .

the heat down and the temperature under eighty-five almost all of the time. But despite all of this .

beauty, poverty reached over most of the countryside, like a blanket of evil, covering the land in darkness, and anyone that came close got caught under it. The people lived in mud huts, with cow dung to patch up any holes in the wall and to make the floor nice and hard. They cooked in a pot hanging over an open fire.