Today we visited Custer State Park. Most people would say “gingers” don’t have souls (yes, I’m a redhead), but the experiences on this trip has touched mine.
The transition from rolling hills to a forest landscape was absolutely breathtaking. Wild buffalo roamed the grassland, the flowers colored the forest green, and the sky was full of vitality. Driving on the road had me thinking, of all things on this trip, what had I learned the most?
I learned the meaning of life and growth.
The buffaloes have herds, they live together and grow. They never leave each other’s sides and they are there to protect each other through whatever passes their way. In a similar way, I have bonded with many individuals on this trip. They are now a part of my circle. In the Lakota culture, a circle is a sign for equality and togetherness.
Not only did we join as one, but the students and I got rid of our stereotypes. We broke down the boundaries of cliques, and we joined as one. I will continue to grow with them on this beautiful thing we all call life.
The meaning of my life has been changed, my purpose changed. No longer do I want to be quiet and see the change happen, I strive to be the change. Every day I plan to make a difference in someone’s life. Whether that be smiling at a stranger or offering help to a friend in need, I want to teach others to be leaders. Life is a beautiful thing, and if we all strive to make a difference, imagine the happiness we could all endure.
Although today is our last day here, it will not be the last day that I will continue to grow. With the rich fundamentals and the soulful experiences, I have been changed. I have been touched by the spirits of the natives, I’ve seen the stories from their eyes, and I’ve heard their struggles and blessings.
by Sierra Dias