Summer is rolling along- some of you have taken your vacations, some are coming up, and some people are planning to use their PTO on a relief trip. Now, I had someone recently ask me, why would I take my precious and so little earned time off from work to go and do MORE work for my recent trip to Haiti. So I want to tell a little about the WHY/WHAT/WTF and some words I want to share to my friends in cityfam who are going to Honduras, especially the ones who have never attended a relief trip before until now.
WHO?: You're going to go with a group of people and this summer, looks like a LARGE amount of people! You are going to have a TON of different personalities, there will tons of emotions, people WILL get on your nerves- "why is this person so annoying?" "Why does this person not want to play with the children?" Just be patient. Be kind. DON'T COMPLAIN. Nothing is worse hearing how hot it is every 2 minutes. Yes, it will be hot as balls. You will stink, sweat, not look your best, and you might be tired, but complaining about it and hearing 20 some other people complain WILL only make it worse. This is your family for a week- you will love them, see them in ways you never thought you would, and you will love and hate them as we do our real families! Participate- even if it isn't your "thing", a little goes a long way. Also, respect house rules- there is no drinking rule on the property so respect that. If you can't booze for 6 days then I would question whether a rehab is a better place to be than a relief trip. PS…. you can have some brews at the beach on your last day- just don't be a drunken asshole or become too dehydrated that you have to be cared for- cool?! Bottomline: DON'T BE A DICK!
WHY? I honestly cannot tell you the day or time this sounded like a good idea to me. But as I have posted many times before, I suffer from bouts of severe depression, where the little things are challenging or reasons to go have fun, live life, or do seemingly "normal" things is a hassle. I choose to go on my recent trip because at the time I questioned my purpose and life on earth. I was having such a dark time in my life that whenever the opportunity arose, I felt maybe this would help me find some purpose- to help those who REALLY have reasons to be sad, depressed or need real help. I felt compelled to do something to help me not only feel better, but have purpose. I thought if I can't find joy despite the blessings and good life I have, then I need to see and help people with real trauma.
You might not be able to relate- maybe this is an extreme example of seeking a relief trip- but for all of my fam who has ever searched for purpose, ever felt stuck, ever felt sad or shameful especially having so many amazing things in your life, I tell you, it is truly humbling to see the joy and love through helping others who truly suffer and have almost nothing we have in a first world country.
WHAT?: Relief trips are not "fun". They can BE fun. You and your friends, family, or strangers get together to serve and come together with love for strangers BUT it requires some suffering on your end. You stay at a mission home or hut, you eat and drink the food that is cooked for you and at the time it is served and you are given an itinerary. You will sweat like a pig, and stink like high-Deet Bug Spray and sunscreen.
On my most recent trip, I saw things that will forever haunt me. The amount of unclothed babies, malnourished kids, homes and shacks just falling apart, with no clean water was truly heart breaking. There is a stigma in third world countries in caring for the sick or disabled. These individuals are often killed or abandoned on street corners. Sometimes they are picked up and rescued.
Honduras is of great need. You will go home and think twice before complaining about being hungry or dirty or lacking any material need. This will change your life, but it might not come as you think.
HOW? Part of the hard work is the fundraising. Keep at it. When you feel you are begging, asking too much, or someone doesn't follow through their commitment to your mission, keep on keepin’ on. One of the team's goals when traveling is learning and understanding how their impact can help not hinder those they serve. The team leaving in Honduras will share their journey with their donors and supporters showing how all of the the donations they received will help build two homes; support support the local center which teaches the children but also gives them a warm meal, hygiene and is focused on teaching the women and older children skills. Most of these families survive on less than a $1 a day to feed their families.
WHAT THE F%^K? Yeah...relief trips are no joke but they are a life changer. I promise you. I am not a church kid- never was. I love being spoiled and serving myself. I like helping people but being uncomfortable or suffering wasn't an option in helping others. So I do not want praise or a medal for any of my relief trips, but I do want to encourage you all to go and be open minded, positive, and know you will fall in love with a country, an organization, and perhaps a child or two that will be remembered for the rest of your life. When you feel your ONE body cannot possibly benefit or impact this world, this trip will remind you that ONE person actually can.
To my fam going to Honduras, I wish you all the luck, success, love and great things to come for you this August. I will think of, pray and honor you while you are away. For anyone who still wants to help the team, contact Mel at Melanie@cityfam.com and ask how you can donate or help the crew. This is not a vacation, these are real people who want to change the world.
Love you all- you make me so proud!
Your Haitian VooDoo Princess & Marketing Director and Bloggess,