Pack This, by Lisa

I’m started getting nervous. When I signed up for this class and the alternative spring break trip that went with it, it was with the intention of gaining a life-changing experience and personal growth. After watching Hotel Rwanda, it started to sink in that this wouldn’t be the average soup kitchen or after-school program volunteering. While both of those are beautiful experiences I’m sure, it hit me that this could be more emotionally challenging than I had planned for.

I had seen Hotel Rwanda before, but not in a context of awareness of genocide and refugee advocacy. It hurt more understanding what I was watching. It scared me more to know how many other similar stories there must be in the history of genocide. It frustrated me to know it was still happening in other places. And it made me nervous to think that in only a few weeks I would be meeting and interacting people who had witnessed such atrocities. Their experiences, their struggles, their growth, their wisdom, simply the way they value life is so far beyond my own. I began to get nervous that I am not prepared–emotionally, spiritually, educationally, and any other -ly you can think of. How am I going to meet these people where they are, when I have so little in comparison?

So here is a checklist I made to get ready for Phoenix:

  • The support of my class–strength
  • Zero expectations–an open mind
  • My faith in endless love and unrestricted compassion– listening ears and observant eyes that dig, instead of scratch the surface
  • My journal–reflection and growth
  • Stories and words of hope–inspiration for intention and action

With only a few weeks left until the big trip, I have a lot of work to do. This is not just a movie. This is not just a powerpoint. I am going to meet real people with real stories–faces of genocide. I want to be confident enough in myself to let that change me and guide me to how I can make a difference in their next chapter. Thank you Aaron, for giving me the inspiration to take my emotions from the movie and make them into actions for our trip.

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