Not being familiar with your surroundings can be extremely scary and nerve-racking. This past Saturday I participated in a Mission Mobtown trip. At one o’clock I went to the meeting place behind Boulder not knowing what to expect. They told us to make teams of three, so my friend Sam and I partnered up with this other freshman, Natalie. We got on the bus, headed to Federal Hill, and the Mission Mobtown coordinator distributed the packets and Polaroid cameras. Our assignment was to gather information and take pictures of how age defines Federal Hill. Our first impression was that our topic was easy. Oh how we were wrong.
We got off the bus in front of the American Visionary Arts Museum. Instead of heading straight, like everyone else, Natalie decided to lead us down towards Key Highway. There was a great deal of construction across from us so we took a few pictures. We figured that by taking pictures of new buildings and old ones we would complete our assignment. Walking for a while, Sam and I noticed that the area was getting more and more run down and we began to feel uncomfortable. Finally out of the corner of my eye I saw the spire of what we figured was an old Church. We changed our route hoping to land there because we believed it would be very helpful.
As we walked towards the Church, we came across an older woman sitting on her stoop. First we asked her if she lived here, and her automatic response was “Yea, why who are you looking for?” Not only did her answer make me feel unwelcome, but also she did not give off a good first impression. Sam asked her some questions and we moved along.
Finally we reached the Church. We went inside hoping to find someone who could tell us the history of it, but it was empty. We were about to walk out when a woman appeared at of nowhere and asked us if she could help us. We asked her if she knew any history of the Church, but she quickly said, “No, I don’t know anything,” while walking towards the front of the Church and going into another room. This situation was creepy. I felt like I was in a scary movie and the Church doors were going to shut behind us. We all looked at each other and hurried out.
At three we got back to our meeting place and everyone had good things to say about their experience. I felt different. Some parts of Federal Hill were very nice, but others were not. From the start I was uncomfortable not knowing where I was, and to add to this feeling the people we encountered were mean and unhelpful. Also, the three of us did not find out as much information about our topic as we would of liked. I wish I had a better experience from Mission Mobtown; however, it was helpful because now I am familiar with Federal Hill.
I can relate my Mission Mobtown experience with the Jesuit idea of learning through experience. In addition, the Jesuits believe it is important to be familiar with Baltimore and our surroundings. Before participating in Mission Mobtown I had never been to Federal Hill. I have visited the Inner Harbor many times, but that is only one aspect of the city. By walking around and exploring Federal Hill, I got to see a different view of Baltimore. Unlike the Inner Harbor, it is a neighborhood where people live. Although I did not have the most pleasant experience, looking back it was well worth my time. I will be living in this city for the next four years, so it is important that I get out and learn more about it. Therefore, experiences like Mission Mobtown are the best way to learn.