This past week has felt like one of the longest weeks of my life but in the best way possible! There was so much that happened and so many things that we did I am going to do this past week a complete injustice in my description.
First up, let me just give a shout out to the Godly men that are on this trip. These guys have really stepped it up and have looked out for all of the girls when we visit the city. They have taken the extra responsibility to watch out for all of the ladies here. It has been a blessing to know that these amazing people have my back in any situation!
Now on to what we have done this past week; a, very, brief overview of various activities. Well I think that my favotire thing that we did this past week was ride-alongs with the Community Correction Officers and getting to see what they do and hearing first-hand accounts of what they see and what they do for these offenders after they are released from prison/jail. My favorite ride-along was with Leslie, Emily, Chris and two police officers. We, my and another team member, rode in a 15 passenger van that had been renovated to hold two offenders in the back (called the cage), However it also has room for quite a few of others in the front. We were able to ride in this van and cruise through the streets with the officers stopping when they would see an offender in the wrong area or when we would see a fight. Because we were so actively in situations that could have escalated we “had” to wear bulletproof vests. I say that because I was totally stoked to get to wear one! It wasn’t as heavy as I thought it might be and I had a lot of fun just pretending to be really important. I learned a lot and Leslie absolutely loves to hang out with the CRU students when they come and was so excited to talk to us and tell us everything that she knows.
Another really big thing that happened is that all the students on the team completed a homeless simulation. We returned from a potluck all of the DOC officers had given us (really good food!) only to find that we had eviction noticed on all the doors. We had 30 minutes home to change and gather any needed meds and our 3 personal items to last us no longer then 5 days. I took a water bottle, bag, and a book (not included in the 3 personal items I also brought a bible, pen, and notebook that everyone got to bring). I wore the most clothes I think I have ever worn at one time before! I had one two tank tops, a sweatshirt, a raincoat, athletic shorts, sweatpants, socks, and tennis shoes. I was so hot by the time they got us to the place we were sleeping. This homeless simulation has been fondly renamed, by me and only me, homeless boot camp. It was definitely more drills, this is what you need to do, scheduled activities and penalties for missing deadlines than I feel an average homeless person would have. I think it took a little bit for the team to get into the rules and the way that everything was so rigidly structured. Many of us complained that we would have way more freedom if we were actually homeless. It was not until after the simulation completed that we were able to see that they were trying to fit all of the disrespect and loss of pride that the homeless feel over the years that they are homeless. They had to put all of this into a 24 hour period.
For now that is all….I will tell more about the homeless simulation after I have had more sleep 🙂 Goodnight from the west coast all!!
*God loves the poor*