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ANNE-MARIE LEWIS

YEAR AND SCHOOL: Freshman at Colorado Rocky Mtn School

TITLE: Giving the Amazon Fresh Water and a Voice

“ I am confident in the fact that I will carry all that I learned forever. I have seen lack of materialistic pleasures, yet I also learned to recognize the ease of happiness that went along with this ‘lack’.”


Anne Lewis Project.jpgFor her Dream Project, Anne-Marie traveled to the Bolivian Amazon with the Shoulder-To-Shoulder program to install water filters for an indigenous community along the Rio Beni River. Working along side local communities as a non-imposing organization, she helped provide long term clean water solutions and essential education.

Heading there with passions for photography, writing, and helping others, she was determined to learn much about herself and the communities she would be working with. Over the weeks of the program, she and her fellow students worked along side the local population to install water filters that would eliminate the surface contaminations and bacterial viruses; many of the locals marveled just at the sight of clear water. Working with these people on a daily basis, Anne-Marie was given a unique perspective into their lives and a healthy reflection on her own life. Not only did she come to appreciate the most basic things in her life, but came to healthily reflect on the way that she lived her life.

“I am confident in the fact that I will carry all that I learned forever. I have seen lack of materialistic pleasures, yet I also learned to recognize the ease of happiness that went along with this ‘lack’. Often times we will have it all, and will still want more. But when we aren’t used to access, we greatly appreciate the little things given to us, and it becomes much easier to become satisfied, and smile at ‘small’ joys. To smile at things like- clean water and clothes, pillows, sleeping bags, and shoes. The luxuries many of us have, we no longer see as luxuries, because they hide in our everyday lives. I no longer look at pillows, shoes, clear water, and nice clothes the same way that I used to. I recognize them as luxuries that are in no way universal, and more greatly appreciate life’s vital offerings.”


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RELATING TO THE 5POINT PRINCIPLES:

5point’s five guiding principles came into play a lot.I saw a lot of unfamiliar things that seemed strange to me but were the norm for their culture. I had to maintain the upmost RESPECT (even if I didn’t agree with some of the things I saw). The work was hard so I had to COMMIT 100% of what I was capable of (which was hard at times since I got pretty sick). The experience as a whole HUMBLED me, and through all of the hard work a sense of PURPOSE was instilled in me.But perhaps the greatest lesson I learned on my Bolivian adventure, was to keep BALANCE in mind. It is very important for us to balance all aspects of our life. We need to balance between our needs and wants, and always be able to appreciate the simplicity of happiness. Often times The luxuries many of us have, we no longer see as luxuries, because they hide in our everyday lives. It is very important to balance our minds. We need to not only logically understand that we are lucky to have access to the things we have access to, but to emotionally appreciate what we have as well. Often times we logically understand, but emotionally feel the opposite.

We are all two very different people inside our own selves. It is important to align and balance the being within, and truly appreciate everything we have- To not always crave the ‘new’ and the ‘better.’ There are people that don’t even have the ‘old’. We need to balance the sight of ourselves, with the understanding and knowledge of others; in order to better respect, understand, and appreciate the world and all of the people in it. Bolivia was a very humbling experience, and has greatly taught me this.”


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