Jeff Gordon: Off-Week Trip To Congo Changed Me Forever

Jeff Gordon got out of his Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet last Sunday at New Hampshire and onto an airplane for a 28-hour flight to the Congo, in central Africa.

What Gordon flew into is an area with some of the poorest citizens in the world and some disheartening sights. 

"It was very eye-opening from the struggles that the people there are going through just trying to make 10 cents or a dollar or five dollars, to the roads, the structure of the military, the government," Gordon said Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "From every aspect, it was an experience that will change me forever."

Gordon's trip lasted just two and a half days, but his "reentry" into the American culture made him rethink his lifestyle.

"I feel guilty about buying a bottle of water for two bucks,"Gordon said. "I mean, you look at your refrigerator. You go, 'Oh, my gosh, so much waste here.' You just start to look at every aspect of your life and the things that you take for granted."

Had Gordon stayed longer, he said it would have become difficult to his life and lifestyle of luxuries. After New Hampshire, Gordon mentioned the trip would be an eye-opening experience. He now says it's one he never could have prepared for.

Sick people. Barefoot two-year-olds walking along the side of the road with nobody to watch them. Large sacks of coal on women's backs.

They're just a few of the experiences Gordon mentioned.

"Those types of things I just didn't expect," Gordon said. "But when you come back, you can't help but have that impact every decision you make, the way you look at things. It just makes me want to cut back on a lot of things that I would say are not necessary."
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