Thursday, July 21, 2011

Update on the Mission Trip

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Well, no it wasn’t really either of those things. The trip, like most things in life, had its ups and downs. To make things easy I’ve split my report into two lists the Ups and the Downs. There are plenty of both.

Freedom! Freedom from motherhood, freedom from W’s health concerns, freedom from worrying about the job situation. Hallelujah for freedom.

I met some of the greatest people in the world. People who work in programs like the ones where we volunteered are people with passion for what they do. They care deeply about those whom they serve. The people who are served by these programs are, for the most part, exceedingly grateful for the assistance they receive. They are people who are not all that different from us (sometimes frighteningly so), but for one reason or another, have made bad choices or just had bad luck.

I learned a lot about homelessness, more than I have time to share here and now, but suffice to say that I do feel like I have a deeper understanding of some of the issues, and they are many and varied, that lead to and perpetuate homelessness.

I made some wonderful new friends and became better acquainted with others.

Twin size air mattresses are pretty darned comfortable, once inflated adequately.

Starbucks just one block away from the church where we stayed!

I don’t caravan well. I get on the road, and I want to just go at my own speed and meet you at the end point. Also, the more you try to force me, the more I will balk. I am a Taurus after all, and Tauruses are known to be mighty stubborn.

While I understand that the behind the scenes administrative tasks are essential I was disappointed at how little time there was for me to have actual interaction with the people we were serving. Perhaps I was assigned tasks based on the knowledge that I’m not the most outgoing of people, and maybe that was interpreted as me desiring to be more behind the scenes. However, that is not the case, and it would have been nice to have been asked rather than it being assumed and would have been nicer if the behind the scenes tasks and the out front tasks could have been more evenly distributed among the participants.

What we, and the organizations with which we volunteered, were doing was like dragging drowning people out of the river. What we as a society need to do is find out how those people ended up in the river in the first place and prevent them from ending up there, which feels like such a huge and daunting task as to be overwhelming.

A bad navigator is worse than no navigator at all.


Craig said...

Good for you, Truey! I just made my own first foray into mission-type stuff this spring, tho my kids have been at it for years. It'll change your persepctive, if you let it. . .

If you don't mind me asking - where were you? We were in Detroit; which is an utterly heartbreaking place. . .

Trueself said...

We were in Chicago. Not as heartbreaking as Detroit I'm sure, but heartbreaking nonetheless particularly in the particular areas where we served.

Val said...

Awesome - I need to hear uplifting stories, nowadays more than ever.

Excellent work!