2016 Mission Trip
I spent the past week on my church pilgrimage in Louisville, KY. This trip was very different from other trips, as it was an Urban Spirit poverty simulation. This week was unlike any other that I had experienced. In the beginning of the week we were told that we would have to carry our items around with us everywhere we went. This was semi-shocking news but it still made the week extremely hard. This was something that I had not thought of when it comes to being homeless. When you have a items but you don't have a house to keep them at, you have to keep them with you at all times. This was definitely an eye-opener. Having to lug around my 50 pound suitcase, sleeping bag, and pillow became exhausting. Especially as we were walking 10+ miles a day. Also on the first day, we were given our "poverty situation". Basically what happened to have us end up in poverty. Our situation was that we were 23 years old and had three kids, 2, 5, and 8. Our parents had kicked us out when we had the first kid. We were sent into the week with admission to a women's shelter with AC and beds. This was a big relief for us as some of the other "families" were on the street for the night. The building that we were staying in was separated into different simulated situations. There were apartments with showers and a kitchen. When we woke up in the morning we would go to the temp agency to get our job for the day. This would be something like working at a church, picking up garbage, or helping out at a summer camp or daycare. These jobs would pay different amounts of money based on the length of the job and your execution of the assignment. We would have to sit around after our job until the "shelters" doors opened at 5:30. This helped me realize that I should think about why a homeless person is sitting on a park bench before I judge them for not having a place to be. Our meals often consisted of crackers, peanut butter, and uncooked Ramen noodles. Over the course of the week we would get reality checks that could be giving us money or taking away money. This helped make the simulation more realistic, as life does not just consist of a straight course. My family even got a robotic baby to take care of. Overall the week helped me learn a lot about people in poverty. The main thing that I learned was not to judge people because everyone has a story. I want to walk out of this week not judging or stereotyping people, and I hope that in the future there will be less poverty and hunger, and more hapiness.
~be the change