The First Half Day in Washington D.C.

After a few obstacles, we made it to Washington D.C. to kick off our service trip. The focus will be on exploring and addressing various facets of the less fortunate communities in our nation’s Capital.

We were warmly greeted by our temporary trip leader Robyn, who brought us together and explained to us our responsibilities and expectations for this trip. After this, we embarked on a journey to take a tour of the city and have a great dinner at a Middle Eastern restaurant.

The food was exceptional, and we then departed on a comprehensive tour of the city that included the extravagant Capitol Building and Washington Monument, as well as the south-eastern part of D.C., which is one of the most neglected parts of the city. It was shocking to see these different worlds juxtaposed against one another, especially when Robyn detailed the vicious cycle of poverty and crime the residents of the south-east have to face every day due to the negligence of corporations and government entities. It was humbling to hear of some few heroes’ efforts to alleviate the hight poverty lifestyles of people in the city. It is clear, however, that more work needs to be done to improve the lives of many thousands of D.C. residents.

To end the night, Robyn took us to a beautiful field which overlooked the entire city of Washington, D.C. and parts of Virginia. In the distance we could see the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Capitol building. In an effort to get a better view, we moved closer to the edge of the field. But trees loomed ahead, obstructing or view, and we were forced to move back again and take in the city as a whole.

And that’s when I realized that this was a metaphor for Washington as a whole. When you look at small snippets of the city, the beautiful monuments and overpriced apartments, you only appreciate a narrow part of it. To truly appreciate Washington, you need to step back and look at it as a whole, regardless of the poverty and strife you may encounter.

Before D.C.

This is my first time ever doing an immersive community service trip.

I’ve done community service before, but never has it consisted of more than several hours a day working a stone’s throw away from the Hill. The project we are about to undertake is an entirely different story. I am about to embark on what I hope to be an intensive journey with a group of people I hope to soon call good friends. Working and living in Washington, D.C. for an entire week, we will help the ‘Hungry and Homeless’ in the streets of the city. I am not sure what to expect from this type of community service.

On the one hand, I know this is going to be a huge learning experience for me. Anyone who has done any Community Service knows the emotional and spiritual growth it brings, as well as the stories you hear from people of all walks of life.

But on the other hand, I am going to be in a completely alien environment for a week working for a mission ingrained in a faith I don’t follow. I don’t care about the religious affiliation of the trip, I just don’t know how isolated or unsure that will make me feel about it.

All in all I’m extremely excited about the upcoming week, and hope to grow a lot from it.