Missions in foreign countries have always been a driving force in my life that force me out of my comfort zone. I have journeyed to various countries with my family or friends to help serve those who have difficulty helping themselves. The summer before my freshman year at the University of Georgia, I once again jetted off to a different part of the world for mission work except this time it was not the same. This time I was traveling to Zambia, Africa for a month with no family, no friends, and working as a photographer. For years I was a photographer for my family, friends, and my school, but with an internship with a company in Zambia I was merging two of my favorite hobbies; photography and mission work. Little did I know that I was going to learn one of the most important life lessons half way around the world.
Confidence had always been an adjective I used when describing myself, however, I had never been put into a situation where I needed to use my confidence when it was the only force pushing me forward. Starting from day one of my internship, I was taken into the darkest and most poverty stricken compounds of the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka. I soon discovered that fear could not show when walking through the compounds, but confidence was needed to appear at ease. Not only would this bring comfort to the people I was talking to and photographing, but it also showed through my work. My newfound confidence helped me capture moments that told the story of the lives of the people of Zambia, and also shaped my life in more way than one. Zambia taught me what it meant to be confident in myself and to use this confidence to approach various parts of my life.
One week after returning to the States I repacked my bags for another big adventure, college. This trek moved me from my home in Houston, Texas to Athens, Georgia. The confidence that was distilled in me in Zambia carried over to Athens and helped me in several ways. From meeting new people to excelling in my classes, I learned that the lessons I had learned while abroad could affect different aspects of my life without forcing them to. My academics truly reflected my confidence and for the first time in my life I was comfortable in the classroom setting and proved that, with a high GPA and proud parents. Without the confidence that my Zambian experiences taught me, the confidence I have in myself today would be nonexistent and I would not be the same person I am today.