I had been nagging my mother to give the garbage collector some extra notes to collect the trash from in front of our house. We had not made the mess, but the disgusting pile destroyed the harmony of the short bushes. However, my mother simply stated, “If you want something done, then do it yourself.” When I looked pleadingly at her, she added, “Anyway, these people would never understand. Whatever you do, they will continue to throw trash around.”
Though upset at hearing those words, I decided that something had to be done. Anyway, doing some productive work would break the monotonicity of my holidays. So, with my sister and some gloves, we set out to clean the incredible mess.
It took the whole day to produce four, giant bags of garbage, and still, there was garbage left. While we worked frantically under the sun, our neighbors came and lurked around. None of them offered us any help even though it was their mess we were clearing out. They whispered amongst themselves, probably wondering why we were doing something so pointless.
Then that very night, when the electricity was out, I saw fire outside and realized they were burning trash! I was angry and frustrated. I felt betrayed. I felt like the whole day’s work was to no avail. In the end, they did just what we had avoided.
In just one day, I had learned something about my neighbors and probably many others too: they were ignorant, ignorant of our purpose for cleaning up, ignorant of how bad it was throwing garbage like that. I realized that it was up to those educated about these things to share the knowledge with others. Furthermore, that day tested my responsibility as a student, my boundaries as a dreamer, and, moreover, my benevolence as a human being. What could I do for others? How much could I dedicate myself to a selfless cause? Ultimately, something ignited in me, something that today pushes me to do something for the community.