Two Continents, One Life Long Friendship

Have you ever had a pen pal? Can you say you’ve talked to someone in a different continent? Do you have a best friend who you haven’t even met? I am so fortunate to be able to answer yes to all three of those questions.

On a cold day in December, my fifth grade teacher told our class that we were going to have a special assignment after winter break. Most people, including me, thought it was a writing essay or math packet. Boy, were we wrong. She explained that her friend had moved to Africa many years ago to explore the heritage of a beautiful country called Kenya.  She learned the language and became the head mistress of a school called Petals of Africa School. Mrs. Morgan, my teacher, informed us that the students at the school were starting to learn English. Her friend asked Mrs. Morgan if we would like to write letters to her class so the students could practice reading and writing English. Our assignment after winter break was to write a letter to a student in Kenya! I was thrilled about writing to a new friend!

When we got back from winter break, the first thing I asked my teacher was, “When do we get to write to our pen pals?” She told me that today we were going to begin the letters. I grew impatient that morning, but it was finally time to talk about writing our letters. “Remember they are still learning English, so write in complete sentences and use correct spelling and punctuation,” Mrs. Morgan told us. As quickly as I could, I started writing my note. Careful about my spelling and grammar, I used every last ounce of knowledge I had to make the sentences top-notch.

Mrs. Morgan finally asked us to turn in our work. I passed mine in, confident that whoever received it would immediately understand how hard I tried to make every word legible and neat. One of the points I focused on was including some main facts about me. I also asked many questions so I could learn more about my new pen pal in Kenya. Mrs. Morgan attached a picture of each student to send to the school.

I was feeling over the moon when my teacher told my class that she had sent the notes to Kenya. She also mentioned it might be weeks, maybe even months before we heard from our pen friends. I was okay with waiting, where as some of my friends decided that waiting for months was too long.

It was mid-March when Mrs. Morgan gave us the replies. Most kids in my class had completely forgotten that we had even sent letters in the first place. However, I had not. I counted up the days until I would be able to read what someone had written to me. I found it so amazing that I had the ability now to talk to someone who lived on a different continent, and who barely knew English!

Fidgeting all day long, I waited for when I could find out who my new pen friend was, and read my note. As my teacher passed out the notes, I saw people staring at their letters in awe. Finally, it was my turn to receive a letter. Full of happiness, I opened it up. I was simply amazed. Sitting in front of me laid a beautifully written letter with stunning pictures.  Reading the letter, I began to show an enormous smile.

Eunice Adisa, my new pen pal, had written me back and answered every one of my questions. She told me all about her life. I learned about her family, what her interests were, and how excited she was to do this assignment. Not only did I have a new friend, I also had a friend who had something in common with me!

When I arrived home later that day, I told my mom all about my pen pal. She had two sisters and one brother. Eunice also included that her favorite subject in school was science and she wanted to become a nurse when she was older. I thought she was the nicest person a girl could know. I was very excited to write back.

I started working as soon as possible. I decided to tell her about myself since she had told me about herself. I shared who I was and my personality. I explained to her my likes and dislikes, some of the things I enjoy doing, and how amazing I thought she was. I discovered writing a letter isn’t just writing sentences and sending them. I realized you need to think about what you’re writing and try your hardest. Once I finished my letter, I gave it to Mrs. Morgan to send to Kenya.

Since it was the middle of March, Mrs. Morgan told us we would not get the letters from our pen pals back until after the school year was over. I was a bit disappointed, but at least I would hear back from Eunice at some point. I hoped she enjoyed my letter.

First days, then weeks, then months went by until one day in August, 2013, we finally received an email from Mrs. Morgan stating that some of the new letters had just arrived from Kenya. I was delighted to know that my pen pal had written back to me.

Not wasting any time, I read the note. Eunice had written beautifully once again and drew me two more pictures, one of a rose, and one of a dog. I loved the way she signed off the letter, “Your best friend, EuniceAdisa.” The sentence that touched me the most though, was, “I would love to meet you if God was able to guide us up to now.”  Tears began to form in my eyes. Eunice was the sweetest person alive. She wanted to meet me and feels lucky to have me as a pen pal.

At that moment, I knew that I had gained a best friend. So what if we’ve never met? Who cares if we live on two different continents more than 9,000 miles away?Eunice and I don’t. We look past all of that and can see that we hold a true friendship. The way we met started off as an assignment, but now it is a lifelong treasure. We continue to write to one another, sharing our lives and our special secrets. Words can’t describe how wonderful I think Eunice is.

Living in two diverse continents, our lives are very different. I can travel wherever I want at such a young age. Eunice, along with most of her friends, never leave within two miles of their homes for their entire lives. I try to tell her about all the places I go and all of the activities I partake in. I hope to help her learn as much as she can about the beautiful world we live in, even though she may not see it.

I desire to inspire her to never stop believing in herself so she can become the bright, loving nurse she wants to be when she’s older and follow her dreams. She inspires me to embrace the world and love my life. She enjoys her life, even without the privileges I have.

Though almost a year has passed since we started writing, one thing is for certain: we have an unbreakable friendship that will last forever.