As I write my blog post this week, I couldn’t be missing Phoenix more. It is currently in the forties, windy, and just sadly cold. But the weather isn’t the only thing causing me to miss Arizona. What I miss immensely is the work we did there. I felt that during our meetings with refugees, Catholic Charities, and the Lost Boys that this is where my passion lies. Each morning I woke up and I was so excited for what the day would hold, the new people I would meet, and the stories they would tell.
But the week is over…so what do I do about it now?
During our week in Phoenix, I often struggled with if what we were doing was enough. Even though I loved every second, I couldn’t help but want to do more. I felt like I was not fully engaging the problem to be able to solve anything. I’ve finally come to terms with what “more” I can do. This trip has inspired me on so many levels, but I now feel I have a direction that I want to go in.
Our last day of the tip consisted of going to the Lost Boys Center to help them to move into their new office, but also to talk about them personally and what they do with the Center. Walking into their office, it felt like we were meeting with old friends. In the short time I’d known Jany and Koor (two of the Lost Boys of Sudan), they were two people I felt really comfortable around. They wanted us to get a bit of background before we talked, so we started by watching a documentary on the independence of South Sudan. When it had finished, they sat at the table with us and opened the floor for questions.
I’d been looking forward to being able to ask them about South Sudan for a really long time. Even in class there were questions I had that Aaron told me to hold onto and wait to ask when we got to Phoenix. I like to analyze, plan, and to work things out, so being able to ask questions about South Sudan’s future was very exciting! It felt like we were a bunch of diplomats at an official meeting rather than a group of college students on an alternative spring break trip. They are both very intelligent men, who are really invested in the future of their state, and a lot of what they had to say I agreed with. They both believe that education is the primary way to change South Sudan, which they believe will lead to stability in all facets of government, civil society, and community.
This week has been a catalyst for me to figure out what I’d like to do when I graduate. I’ve always been nervous that I picked the wrong thing to study because I’d never been able to practice what I’ve learned, so I didn’t know if I was right for it. This week erased that. There are so many ways to engage in the international community, and I now know that I want to make my mark through diplomacy, development, and peace building. I want to be able to use my education to help those in the world who have not received one, and to help them to help even more people. This week has given me the capacity to make my idealistic plans real, and given me the confidence to pursue something I love.