India 2017 | Fiji, 2018 | Tanzania, 2019
Ethan went to school in Japan | Participated in Cheer, NHS, and Student Government | Attending Indiana University next year and plans on studying Anthropology and Folklore
I am not the strongest person out there, when you see me you see a skinny 5’2 boy who doesn’t at all look their age. People never expect me to do heavy lifting because they either don’t think I can do it or they don’t want me to hurt myself, however I like to help others out.
During my sophomore year of high school I went on my third Rustic Pathways trip to Tanzania, Africa.
While there we were helping build a changing room for female students going through their menstrual cycle. Without a changing room they couldn’t go to school and were missing out on an education. With us building a changing station, they could go to school during their cycles so they could continue learning.
It was a lot of heavy lifting; carrying buckets full of water and making cement. I am a go getter so I wanted to do my best even though I am not that strong.
I carried buckets (which probably weighed around 30 pounds) full of water to others and we made a system where we threw and caught buckets to fill them up and carry them to the next person. We dug in the sand and filtered it and then made cement with the sand and buckets of water. After making the cement came the dirty part, we would put the cement on the walls of the changing room.
Through all of this heavy work I worked my hardest, while I did drop a few buckets because catching is not my strong suit, I never gave up and pushed myself to keep ongoing. When others were taking breaks I would keep on working because I wanted to do my best and to help out as much as I can.
After going on the trip to Tanzania I gained confidence in myself and even though people might not think I can do much, I prove them wrong by not giving up, helping out, and pushing myself.
There was a similar encounter the year before when I went on another trip with RusticPathways to Fiji. While there, we were helping build a toilet for an older woman whose house was destroyed due to a storm. We did not get to do as much in Fiji while we were there because it rained most of the time, and at one point we had to cross what seemed like a river while walking to our destination.
At the building site we were digging a trench and painting her house. It was extremely hot while working and when it rained we were not supposed to work.
However, we wanted to work, and would beg them to let us help. We worked a lot on the house and went back even when we were not scheduled because we wanted to do more.
It brings me joy to say that we were requested to come back because we were hard workers who didn’t mess around and got the work done. At the end of the trip we said an emotional goodbye to the woman whose house we were working on and it made all of us sad that we had to leave.
On the Fiji trip, I learned that strong work ethics are extremely important and that trip is one of the reasons that sparked my love for volunteer work.
Thanks to Rustic Pathways I learned to be a hard worker, a more grateful person, and a better person. I will take the experiences I had in the different Rustic Pathways trips with me for my entire life and when I have children I will encourage them to participate in Rustic Pathways too.