Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Event Blog In Due Time
This past Saturday I went to Hispanic Apostolate which is a center for Hispanic people which helps with English enrichment, legal services and provides medical assistance. The enrichment program I volunteer for goes from 10am to 12pm. In order to be there on time my group and I must leave at least a half hour ahead of time. I woke up in enough time to take a shower and hurry down to my group's meeting place. Of course I was dead tired because I was on duty the night before until 2:00am. Of course a friend of mine fell asleep on my couch and would be late for work if I didn't take her. Of course my dad was supposed to come visit the night before but pulled over to sleep and arrived at my residence hall as soon as I was about to take my friend to work. And of course my group called asking me to hurry up! So I moved swiftly. I hugged my dad and set his things up in my room, ran to my car to take my friend to her job, drove 55 miles an hour down a residential street to get back as soon as I could, brushed my teeth quickly and ran to the location of my group. I could have easily told the group to go ahead without me because it would be too much of a rush, but I didn't. Something told me to rush like I have never rushed before, and needless to say it was worth it.The center is located in Fells Point, in the heart of the Latino community. The ride there was interesting because the Baltimore Marathon stopped us for a good fifteen minutes. So although I made the group a little late in the beginning it ended up being okay because we would have been stopped regardless. My group was very tired as it was early on a Saturday. As we sat for that fifteen minutes we talked. I really got to know the group I was with which made the experience I would later have at the center all the more meaningful.When we finally arrived at the center it was a bit hidden. We had to go up a small, old cramped elevator into a mishmash of furniture and religious paintings hanging on the walls. There were walless classrooms distinguished by simply a table and chairs no more than three feet apart. Despite the lack of materials there was love in the air. Not in a romantic sense, but the center held an overwhelming feeling of hope, joy and family brought by the people who used the services, the workers who provided them and the volunteers who helped along the way. I was working with an older man who was able to speak English fairly well but had trouble with vocabulary and pronunciation. So we picked up a newspaper and read. I helped him with his pronunciation. I helped him look up words he didn't know. I helped him as best I could which I didn't think was much, but he did. He helped me understand that whatever someone can do for another is enough. He knew I didn't speak Spanish well and because I helped him he offered to help me with my Spanish. This really meant a lot to me because I suck at Spanish. I have been taking it for years because I have been forced to and I am finally on my last semester and finally someone has offered to help me. Not help me get a good grade but help me understand the language. That was huge. We are all related we can all help each other. We are all significant and according to the Jesuit ideal, created in the image of God. This experience showed me what we learn about in our classes. That God is in all people. We all have a story to tell which has worth and meaning. We are important to the betterment of the world and responsible for it.On the way back home my group and I carried the love we felt with us. We talked even more on the way back and went to get breakfast together. The experience that we had with people who are looked down upon in our society I believe has helped us more than the experiences we have on a day to day basis with people who are considered our "equals". Just as we felt a sense of family at the center, I felt the same sense of family with the people in my group. Interestingly everyone in my group was a different race. I am Black, there was a White boy named Danny, and Asian girl named Julia, and a Puertorican boy named Rony. Society views us a a diverse group but through service we are all the same. We are all equal. We have worth and God is present in all of us.