It’s more than volunteering…

Last night the team decided to do a scavenger hunt around Boston which included strange tasks such as planking on a monument,  asking a stranger to buy you milk or my ultimate favorite,  telling a stranger “its nice to finally talk to someone outside of the insane asylum.” This was a fun activity to not only get outside of our comfort zone, but to bond as a team. I remember at the very first meeting we had in the fall, we talked about things such as what your major is or career options, but now that we all know each other on a deeper level, our interactions and conversations are more meaningful.

Even though most of us had a long night, we were eager to start our day. There was another group from Indiana, so for the first part of the morning we were working in the back.  Ricky, Stacy and I were asked to make lasagna. Some of it was for lunch, but the rest was for the individuals they serve. We all carefully made sure we spread the sauce, eggplant, cottage and shreded cheese. We could have done it quickly because the Chef wasn’t paying much attention, but we took our time because presentation is key. My mother tells me that if she made food for my grandmom and it wasn’t presented properly, she would not eat it. So I thought about this. I wanted them to feel happy when they opened their bags with an assorted array of meals and desserts. Yesterday, when Ashley and I were scooping fruit cocktail into containers,  I made sure that every container had a cherry so when the people opened it, it would brighten their day. The rest of the day consisted of cleaning dishes ( thanks Barbara and Ashley) and packaging and storing the food. Fernandez gave us all a slice of cake which made me feel good that he cared about all of us and wanted us to take a break.

After the delicious dinner, we had reflection. As reflectors, Ashley and I thought it was important to ask about the target audience who is receiving the food. We asked “what would you do or how would you react if your roommate was HIV positive?” Answers varied from informing oneself more on HIV/AIDS, feeling uncomfortable or being extremely cautious.  These questions may have been difficult to discuss, but they are important because we have to keep in prospective who we are volunteering for. We cannot just package food and then come back to our Hostel.  That is not enough. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and I am happy that we have all created a safe space where we can discuss these topics because after all what is service without reflection?