Una carta para mi familia y amigos

12 Noviembre 2015

Querida familia y queridos amigos,

Les escribo esta carta para compartir un poco de las muchas expereriencias que e tenido en Washington D.C. Antes de comensar mi año de servicio no tenia la menor idea de lo que hiba estar haciendo. Tuve 2 entrevistas para dos organizaciones diferentes. Como saben ahora, soy voluntaria para una organizacion que ayuda a los indigentes con recursos para ayudarlos a encontrar casa de bajos ingresos o en general un techo donde dormir.

Mis dias en Capitol Hill Group Ministry son de Lunes a Miercoles y me despierto con muchas ganas y alegria de dar mi servicio . Convivo mucho con los indigentes en el desayuno que la iglesia probe, en el almuerzo y tambien cuando camino las calles. Habeses se me hace dificil referirme a ellos como indigentes o mis clientes porque ellos confian en mi. No somos extraños ahora somos mas como hermanos en Cristo. No hay una barrera que nos separe porque logre abrir mi corazon y ver mas alla de su situacion. Cuando camino las calles me saludan como si nada o me dan abrazo. Se siente chido que los puedo ayudar y a la misma vez mostrarle a las demas personas de la comunidad que no hay nada de raro en ayudar a alguien pobre de esta area. Al principio sentia feo que personas vestidas de traje me voltearan a ver con cara de “y ella que esta haciendo hablandole a un desamparado,” ahora es todo lo contrario me animo a echarle mas ganas a ser un ejemplo para los demas para que ayuden a los necesitados. Aparte de ayudar en esta organizacion, tambien me apunte a otro organizacion que corre con personas que se estan recuperando ya sea de adicciones o salieron de la carcel, cosas asi, los lunes miercoles y viernes. Corremos a las 5:45am, este programa ayuda a las personas a mantenerse en forma pero mas importante tener a voluntarios que les den animo para seguir adelante con sus vidas.

La situacion en D.C es critica porque el costo de vida es muy alto. Muchas familias se quedan en albergues o asilos y su situacion de vida es fatal. Hace años atras el alcalde abrio un hospital, D.C General, que habia estado cerrado por varios años pero como el clima de invierno se puso muy frio y no tenian suficiente espacio en los otros asilos de la ciudad tuvo que abrir el hospital para que las familias tuvieran refugio. El estilo de vida que llevan estas familias es muy inestable y no es saludable. La alcalde que esta en pocision ahora, quiere cerrar el hospital y construir mas albergues. La meta de la ciudad es terminar “homelessness” para el 2017 pero eso se ve muy dificil. No hay trabajos que pagan lo suficiente para que una familia pueda vivir sin pedir asistencia de el govierno. La lista de espera para casas de bajos ingresos esta por los cielos, asi que veo muy dificil llegar a esta meta. Si tengo la esperanza de que se puedan terminar estas injusticias en D.C y en todo el pais.

Aparte de mi servicio, la ciudad es genial. La ciudad tiene muchos museos que son gratis, sitios de historia y monumentos que se pueden visitar. Yo trabajo cerca del capitolio y vivo a las afueras del centro. Me encanta regresar a casa porque no estoy donde esta todo el movimiento. La ciudad esta llena de arboles y de un parque donde se puede apreciar la naturaleza. (A mi me encanta ir al parque a caminar y disfrutar el aire libre). Yo uso la bicicleta como forma de transportacion en todo clima. 😀 Lo se estoy un poco loquilla por andar en bici y este frio o lloviendo pero, disfruto mucho el aire libre. Antes andaba en autobus pero duraba una hora en llegar con todas las paradas y ahora solo duro 40 minutos en bici. Cuando usaba el autobus asi platica con las señoras que se veian hispanas. Hay muchos de El Salvador y Centro America y muy pocos Mexicanos. Me estoy haciendo experta en bailar salsa y bachata porque aqui no se baila la banda :(. La comida esta rica ahi muchas opciones para mi que soy vegana 🙂 pero no hay comida autentica Mexicana :(, fui a un restaurante Mexicano pero los cocineros Salvadoreños, es curioso.

Bueno eso es poquito de mis experiensas si tienen preguntas me pueden escribir :). Me encanta escribir cartas y mandarlas por correo. Los extraño mucho familia y amigos. Vivan largo y prosperen. 🙂 Dios los bendiga.

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Who needs who?

Client interactions vary on a daily basis, there are clients who appreciate conversation and others who mind their own business. Most of the interactions with clients are at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church Morning Breakfast or at the Church of the Bretheren Lunch. When I help serve breakfast or hand out resources all of our clients are very appreciative of the service the volunteers and I are able to give. There is a particular guy who always says, “I appreciate the services that you give and the work that you do to help us out.”
I find myself asking, who needs who? Every time I hear him say that, I consider the example he sets to me. The act of service to others is part of who I am but, is the act of service merely an act of egocentrism. Those who know me, know that it is not an act of egocentrism, my sincere willingness to serve and see others happy is part of who I am. However, hearing someone else tell me they are grateful for what I do triggers my mind into thinking maybe I am the one that needs them. I am the one who needs to learn from them. I am the one who complains about life  and look at them, the homeless, they have close to nothing and continue to be grateful. So, in the end who needs who?

“Who are you?”

Everyone I meet in some way shape or form has impacted my life in a positive or negative way. Because I am who I am, I like to make people think, I like to help them truly reflect on what they have said or had to say. Something as simple as, “How are you?” and “Who are you?”

I would like to focus on the second question… After taking a class in Buddhism and Hinduism, I learned about attachment to the material world  and limits/boundaries from an Eastern form of thought. The answer to this question, “Who are you?” is no longer just a name, the answer is deeper. A name limits ones ability to fully grasp an identity. I am not just Lynette, I am more than my name. There is a deeper connection to the world that I have than simply my name.

Now, there are the homeless who their name is all they have in this life. Some do not share their name for fear of getting their identity stolen and others value it so much they do not want to be forgotten. It is interesting to approach this question with two totally different perspectives. One view, views names as a limit and the other values name more than anything. This perplexing question, “Who are you?” “Who am I?” continues to puzzle me.

Other than the thought I’ve shared, I love the service I provide, I love waking up with high hopes of touching someones life by simply listening to their stories.

Have a blessed day!

A Cry in Distress

“They don’t listen to me, all they give me is garbage,” are the word of a gentleman I encountered a couple days ago. All he wanted was 50 cents or some money but, people always tell him no, or I don’t have any money or I’ll get you something to eat.

On that same afternoon and the next day I did outreach by myself, I approached different individual’s some who accepted my conversation with gratitude and others who did not want to talk to me. I felt happy to engage in conversation if they allowed me too. On the other hand I was saddened and frustrated because people that walked by looked at me funny, wondering why I was sitting down talking to a homeless person.

How do we treat people in the streets? Why do we dehumanize or create boundaries to those that look different? I’m guilty of looking at homeless people with disgust or even being afraid of them but, my position in street outreach helps me understand that hardships exist and that I should see them as human beings. I was quick to judge but I didn’t take the time to get learn about them or what they had been through. Now I hear them share their stories with me and I can honestly say that it can happen to any one of us. 

Be grateful for everything that you have because in the end you are not there because of yourself but because others have helped you get there. Be quick to help others,  learn to love and break boundaries.

God bless.


The Meaning of a Smile

I find myself torn between two worlds. A division within society, the “normal” and the “marginalized.” I’ve been told to not attract to much attention to myself for my safety, literally “take that smile of you face,” while walking in the streets or just out and about especially in the “bad” parts of the neighborhood I live in.  Because I have been told not to attract to much attention I feel like I miss a part of me. Is safety more important than “turning off” that aspect of me? I can’t go around smiling at everyone telling people “good morning, have a nice day” or if I do I get looked at funny. Why are some people so serious?

Then there is my job, where it is essential to have a smile on my face and be engaging in conversation with the people. One of my clients said today, “at least you have a smile on your face.” Its heart warming to see him smiling by my simple gesture even though he is going through rough times.

Between these two worlds i find myself wondering, questioning, exploring, embracing and trying to understand the differences within each one of us as human beings. In the end regardless of our differences a smile to anyone is worth a try.
Changing the world one step at a time.
Thank you for your continuous support and prayers.
-Lynette

Orientation in D.C.

20150831_18003931 August 2015- The YAV’s along with Sarah our coordinator rode along the National Mall.  Well, when I got to the Lincoln memorial I had a better view of the National Monument and started thinking about what it means to be a part of this nation…The National Monument and various other National Memorials are supposed to signify unity, freedom, nationalism, etc…but does it really stand for that when America still has homelessness, poverty, and food desserts. Living in our nations capital, it is interesting to see how divided the city is depending on income. I am looking forward to learning more about what it means to be a part of a nation that stands for freedom yet again has many who do not have the privileges that stand for that. D.C is a powerful state and i am interested to see how the power plays out here in the capital.

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1 September 2015-After spending the day riding the bus, the YAV’s went for a night of poetry at BusBoys. BusBoys and Poets is a restaurant/bookstore (with many vegan options which is great for me :D). On Tuesday nights they have open mic, where everyday folks express themselves through poetry. Through their art many of the participants expressed anger and frustration toward the state of race relations in the U.S today and throughout history. I love the background of the stage because the pictures mean to me revolution and time of change. The Dalai Lama-Waiting, Ghandi-Watching, Martin Luther King Jr.-Dreaming and Mandala. They are and were influential individuals that give me hope for a peaceful future.

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2 September 2015- I walked to the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception. It was a time of reflection and prayer for me. I am and was in awe by this church. I  have so many questions about it because it has so much history and art, its incredible. This picture is one of my favorites, the story of creation. I have no words to describe how beautiful it is.

3 September 2015- I volunteered for the organization S.O.M.E- So Others May Eat-.  SOME serves breakfast and lunch for the homeless and it is open 365 days a year no matter what the weather conditions may be. The YAV’s helped serve breakfast. I was glad to serve because I got to meet and talk to some guests that I will potentially get to talk to. “Homelessness” is a word that creates a barrier/boundary and sometimes prevents me to see them as a human beings. I am excited to break that barrier and to learn about what it means to have unconditional love.

After all…

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself. Ephesians 3:17-20

Thanks for your support and continous prayers, I really appreciate them!

#YAV1516 #youngadultvolunteers #pcusa

I am Not Alone

A new season begins after a week long of orientation at Stony Point in NY. Monday i traveled with my fellow #YAVS to D.C. by train. It was great, it was my first time riding an Amtrak train. I want to do it again 😀. Packing was definitely a challenge, imagine packing for a year and we had all these bags to carry. I was lucky to travel with my partners we were able help each other out but, imagine by ourselves. One word: adventure.

In the mist of stress or just life I am lucky to say I am not alone. I get to share wonderful experiences with my community and you of course (reading this). Thanks for all the support.


One year of service here we GO
One year of service in D.C. here we GO