During the application of the MEPI Student Leaders Program, I was asked to write an essay of how I think the program will benefit me, and I had some ideas on what challenges I would face, written down neatly, not knowing at that moment what would it be really like. Now, I’ve been trying to reflect on that essay after I came back home, and it’s nearly impossible to measure the impact of the program on me.
The 6 weeks I spent in the US went through in a blink of an eye, but looking back at it, it seems as if it lasted for a year, trying hopelessly to count the memories and experiences we went through.
It’s been a month and I’m still trying to make sense of what has changed, everything changed, the program changed me to the core, I had a lot of ambitions before I go and what happened is that I got my eyes opened far more, I see things clearer and I’m more focused and determined to build the life I want for myself. When you travel, your eyes get wide opened to things you didn’t see before, you discover yourself more, you explore the depth of your soul and what you’re attached to.
The program gave me the ability to sharpen my skills and utilize them fully to the benefit of my community and that definitely made me a better person beyond belief, after I came back I spent a lot of time thinking I’m lost, and that I’m not able to fit here anymore, but that’s what happens when you stretch, it’s painful but allows you to reach out to what you couldn’t reach before, but one thing I realized is that all of this isn’t the best thing WE took back home.
We? Where did that emerge from?
It came from the 23 brave leaders who made a lot of sacrifices and left their countries to participate in this adventure, I’ve never seen a group more persistent to melt in one big family with all our cultural and ideological differences, we acted as one, curious to know one another, we cared for each other, we strengthened each other, we were one. 17 Student Leaders and 6 Residence Assistants are what made the program much more intense and exciting and valuable, what we learned from each other’s experiences was impeccable, unmatchable by a lot of experiences I went through my life, this by far is one of the experiences that carved me out of the rock like a new person, a person who found his passion and inspiration from all those live souls that light up the world.
I was honored to know all of them, 17 Students and 6 Devoted RPAs, not because they’re the elitist and the best of their countries, not because of their outstanding skills and achievements, not because they’re the ones who will lead their countries, not because they’re the source of light and change wherever they’ll be in their careers and lives, but simply because they changed me, simply because they allowed me to see their naked souls, what they truly are, without pretending and playing around, simply because they accepted each other with open arms and knew that together we can form an unimaginable force that wherever we go, no matter how far we are, we are one family that nobody can break apart, that we belong together and we’ll always strengthen each other and be there for each other, simply because you taught me how to be who I really am, without caring what people would think or do to stop me from what I do best, because of you, I’m one step closer, hell no, a million steps closer in my journey to find out who I really am and how to make my impact significant.
You’re my family and I know that together we’re full of power and hope and light and everything beautiful you can ever think of, that’s how I beat my demons when they haunt me whenever I feel down.
Here’s to the King Abdulla, The Cool Ahmed, The Gentle Ala’a, The Brave Arwa, The Wise Barbara, The Adventurer Chris, The Teacher Dareen, The Brilliant Erik, The Hilarious Esmail, The Curious Farah, The Amazing Hayat, The Doctor Islam, The Humane Jouan, The Patient Kenda, The Inspiration Kevin, The Heartwarming Komtil, The Super Kyle, The Warrior Libya, The President-to-be Agamy, The Computer Wizard Chaawa, The Passionate Mumen, The Captain Nesreen, The Artist Oran, The Persistent Salam, The Caring Sister Salma, The Mastermind Samantha, The Beautiful at heart and Mind Tala, The Visionary Will, The Fantastic Zena.
Words can’t describe you and the memories can’t stop putting a huge smile on my face whenever I remember every moment throughout our adventure.
I’m also grateful to knowing creative and inspirational people who stood out from all the people I met while we were traveling here and there: Danielle, Jacob, Adam and Masumi.
Danielle is one of the sweetest and most inspirational people I’ve ever met, if I regret one thing about my trip, I regret not knowing her ever since I put a foot in Portland, she’s full of energy and light, and spreads them everywhere she goes, and whatever happens she always has that infectious smile on her face that makes you instantly happy. And above all she does everything with love and passion, our conversations give me hope that there are people who want our planet to survive all the awful things being done to it, and again, words aren’t fair to do you right.
Jacob is another example of a great person who was curious to get to know us, and passionate about what he does in the movie industry, I hope I’ll see a movie directed by him one day!
My Host Family, Adam and Masumi, Adam had the biggest classic video games I’ve ever seen, a real geek, and an Engineer too, and he’s a freak about card games and mind games as well. it can’t get more awesome! Masumi could sit and let me talk about Jordan for hours and she wouldn’t be bored, and she cooks delicious Japanese food, and above all They’re brilliantly nice and I really felt like home, I enjoyed hanging out with you and our picnic and the car show and the rock concert, I hope you’re both well.
I miss you all immensely, and I hope you’re doing fine with your work and studies and your projects too, and aside from that I hope you’re all living the life you aspire to, and that you’re on the right way to be what you’ve always wanted to be. I can’t wait to see you next February, less than five months from now. I love you.
I leave you now with this video and the song: