From April 19, 2015
Several weeks ago, the island where my little brother lives was hit by a typhoon. The storm wiped out all electricity on the island, destroyed homes and threw daily life into chaos. School stopped, make-shift homes were found and piece by piece, things had to be put back together.
Now, weeks later, electricity has been returned to the school, but not to all the homes, including the compound where my brother lives. Instead, he charges his electronics at school and uses the school’s internet to Skype us on the weekends. At night after teaching, he uses candles for light and turns in early, unable to be outside after dark due to a curfew.
From a western outsider’s perspective, this might seem a rough, but as my brother put it, “I just feel like I don’t need electricity any more”. He has adapted to the challenge, adjusted his perceptions and found a part of himself that I’m not sure he would have found before.
To me, this is one of the most amazing parts of traveling and living abroad. It helps develop individuals into well-rounded people and listening to my brother talk about his last year, I could not be more proud of him for taking the risk and moving to a remote island with minimal infrastructure; for moving abroad having hardly traveling; for taking each day as it comes and smiling though any hardship. He was an amazing person before he left and I am know that living in a new country has made him all the more amazing. I am proud that he is out in the world, using his experiences to help improve the lives around him.