I miss D.C. immensely. I miss the group of friends I spent the week with, the kids we worked with day to day, the city skyline at night, getting lost in the vans, and having lengthy, late night discussions that made me feel like change was necessary, and very, very possible. The only thing I don’t miss from that week is probably having to shower in a box.
I had wondered before I left for the trip how this trip might compare with the mission trips to El Salvador I have taken in the past five years. What was different was not so much even the trip itself, but the way others received my experience upon my return home. When I told people that I went on an ASB trip to Washington, D.C. to learn about and combat hunger and homelessness, the only thing they asked me was, “How was it?” This question was not what I expected. When I came back from El Salvador, not only did I get that question, but I got, “What did you do there?”
The reason this is so significant I think is not because I went to a different country, but because I think people think that they already know a lot about hunger and homelessness issues. This is what I thought, too, before I went on the trip. To me, this is really awful. I learned so much from being in D.C., and while before I had thought that maybe the needs of those in other countries are probably more because they didn’t have as sturdy a government as we do, now I think that maybe domestic issues are just as important to address. Some parts of our work in Washington hit a little too close to home for me, and had I not been on the trip I would not have learned of all the ways that I can be a better member of my society. It also propelled me to want to educate others on this issue in a big way. I’m hoping our reorientation project will do just that.