Thursday, March 10, 2016


On the second to last day of our mission trip though I could easily say that it’s been the most emotionally taxing. There have been a myriad of emotions that have flowed through me today. A specific journey has been of particular importance to the group and myself. Today, we took a car ride throughout West and East Baltimore. Throughout the journey I grew increasingly shocked. That sense of surprise was exacerbated because it was coupled with a wide array of emotions that shifted continuously as the journey progressed. At the start of the trip we began to drive toward the epicenter of the riots in Baltimore that followed the controversial death of Freddie Gray. I was sickened, shocked, and saddened every block nearer to the infamous CVS that the news media reported was burning for hours. We explored neighborhoods that were more economically depleted than any place I’ve ever seen. Rows upon rows of houses sit unoccupied, boarded up, and dilapidated. On almost every corner sat police cars from different Baltimore precincts. Even the streetlights did not work. The Hill District looks like a wealthy neighborhood by comparison. We observed two incredible murals that were done on two buildings in Freddie Gray’s neighborhood. They exemplified the past and present of West Baltimore; a struggle for civil rights and economic equality resulting in a close sense of community and brotherhood. West Baltimore stood in stark contrast to the East. Johns Hopkins University stands at the center of wealthy East Baltimore that has received heavy investment. The massive disparity has left a bad taste in my mouth. The conditions of West Baltimore were completely shocking and truly made me appreciate how fortunate I am in my own life. It has also made me appreciate our own mission work and added a greater -sense of responsibility for us all.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


I have been on 2 CCME's now, and I have to say that it’s been the people on both trips who have really inspired me, and have really helped make my mission experiences truly gratifying. This year, with such a small group, I can say that we have become a family of like-minded individuals who stepped into a journey of change.  Change, not only within ourselves, but a change in our perspectives, and how we see the world of the world in which we live, stepping out of our comfort zones to achieve such a task.  It's really moving to be around a group of students who endured a trip that was filled with heaviness and confusion at times to come out as a more informed individuals of the issues that plague our society.  Issues like hunger, human trafficking, race relations, police brutality, gentrification, and poverty in 3rd world countries, just to name some of what we encountered. I am forever grateful for the amount zeal and comfort our mighty group of 7 has given. They allowed me to be myself, and where there for me when I was sorting through all of the weighty emotions I had to sort through in myself.  As I took part in my last CCME mission experience I’ve realized that Margaret Mead’s words still hold true, “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

All my Best,



Monday, March 7, 2016

Stay tuned

Well be adding more stories and lots of pictures this week!  We had a great experience!

No Ablo Espanol

Today our group had helped with the food pantry at Our Lady Queen of Peace. And I have to say, of all the food drives or charity work I've ever done, I don't think I've ever been so intimidated helping people.
The population we were serving mainly came from Latino/Hispanic background and knew very little English. I found this experience to be intimidating because I know very little Spanish (*thank you kindergarten Spanish class and Dora the Explorer for the basic knowledge...)

People were coming at me asking me a whole bunch of questions about the items from the cart I had and I felt so helpless. In a way I kind of knew what they were saying because they would point to things but all i could respond with was "uno cosa (one item)", "no able Espanol", or desperately point at a volunteer who knew Spanish and say "Espanol!" hoping they would get the message to go talk to them about it. (At one point I almost started speaking in German.)

Yesterday our AFAC tour guide had told us about maintaining the dignity of people in poverty and the limited quantities they had at the food bank was a harsh reminder that they were in poverty and were limited by their options.

Even though the food pantry was intimidating because of my lack of Spanish, interacting with the customers was insightful. It showed me how helpful services such as a food pantry are to a community. Often a person in poverty doesn't have enough money to buy a lot of food from the store to sustain themselves or their families and so a food pantry is just a mechanism to getting the help they need to survive. I know a lot of people have this idea that poor people are lazy and don't work (I know I've had this view before) but honestly these people who i met today were so sweet and just regular people trying to get by.

So far I have loved everything about this parish and all the good things it has brought to this community. it's got its act together and it's beautiful to see how much they have done in the area.


Friday, March 4, 2016