By Njounkeng Daize Merville Nkeobouh (YES 2017-2018, Cameroon, hosted by PAX in Bluffton, IN)
The YES Program was just a ten month program for many, but for me it was a life changer! Being an exchange student has given me an opportunity to be the change to my community. Upon completion of the program, I have already had some project ideas in mind, and immediately after I got back home I started executing some of them.
They say Charity Begins At Home, and because we all share a common home, which is the environment, we have to protect it. I started educating the children around my compound. I started with the children because they are the future leaders of tomorrow, and thus should grow up with a healthy mentality. The kids were keen on the fact that keeping the environment clean can prevent them from some diseases.
It was certainly an amusing day for my neighbors, since they saw their kids actually doing useful work. One of my neighbors commented while we worked, "We are greatly benefiting from our American girl."
We did joyous chants as we worked and it was a fun day for all.
Furthermore, I brainstormed on how I could help my church. My church in the U.S sent gifts for my local church and this made the kids of my Sunday school really happy and excited to hear from American friends, miles away. I was also very happy because my church also benefited from the exchange program. FAITH KNOWS NO BORDERS.
In the same light, I bought trash cans for my local church and taught them on the importance of cleanliness. It was really fun when they made a promise to dispose of their trash properly. It feels great to know that the children will be very conscious of keeping themselves and their environment clean.
I feel a great sense of accomplishment, thanks to the YES Program. I think with the small activities I have started, they will grow into greater accomplishments. Impacting my community is no longer an instruction, but now my duty.