Since the first alternative break trip I took three years ago I have dreamed of this moment. I always knew that I wanted to take a team to El Salvador on an ASB trip before I graduated from Lafayette, and here I am, eight hours from the beginning of this journey. As compared with other members of my team, I have a really good idea of what to expect from this trip. I have been to El Salvador six times to do similar service work, and I already know a lot of the people we will be working with this time around. What’s different for me is that I have never helped to lead a team there in the capacity I am now. This reality makes me incredibly nervous, but also incredibly excited to see what my amazing team will accomplish in the next couple of days.
Cesar Chavez once said, “Once social change begins it can not be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” This social change is what I hope my team discovers during this trip. Though it will be a heartbreaking, eye-opening, sometimes painful experience, the lessons learned from doing service work with those in developing nations is an experience that you can’t ever forget. I hope in attending this trip there is a fire lit in people’s hearts, and they will understand what it means to be privileged in our society. I also hope they discover that they are always capable of promoting change.
As we board our flight early tomorrow morning, I will brace myself for a rewarding and unforgettable experience. I hope it will be a reminder to me of what it means to be an active citizen and advocate for those who cannot themselves.