Wow… this trip has been something special. It has been a experience I will never forget because the things I did, the people I met and the relationships developed. I knew going in that it takes people leaving their normal environments, that they are comfortable in to explore a deeper part of their life and the relationships they have with others. This experience gave me a greater appreciation for good people and I want to surround my self with more positive, driven individuals that aim to make a difference. I learned that I have support from many people and that I should not second guess myself on the things I want to do on wards. I look forward to applying for a masters program in environmental studies at york in a year. It was through this experience which cemented my want, need and passion to do this work and to harness the drive and commitment I have for the community and the environment.
I came on this trip confused with no direction and I am leaving with a compass and a map. I miss my mother, grandmother and siblings and I will be giving them many hugs, but I will be home soon. This trip gave me the opportunity to talk to locals such as Angel that was hit by the hurricane in a deep way, I learned from their courage and strength to continue after five years. I also built a stronger bond with all the participants and I aim to bring those relationships to Toronto. The work on the homes monday to Friday was rough on the body but great on the heart. I had my challenges with building middle class homes and not doing more work in the lower class communities, but it was Tanya Harris that made me realize that giving your time (volunteering) is what I came here to do, giving is giving and it’s fine whom ever I serve. I can’t lie it was challenging at times working on homes for wealthier families that had nicer homes than what I had back in Toronto. Where does the equity in rebuilding start? I always asked myself, but I had good conversations with Fei and others which gave me the opportunity to look at things from a outside perspective. It was also a reminder that I am a outsider and I only been here for less than 2 weeks I have no merit to assume or present my ideas on what should and can be done, I am a visitor volunteering and thats all that I am.
I really enjoyed that Civil Rights memorial road trip to Alabama, so wicked… a experience to share wit my family and my children in the future. I still can’t believe I saw a home Martin Luther King lived in. I was able to experience history.
New Orleans was so awesome and the work so great. This experience will forever be written in my history and my memories.
Jerome “Jai” Morgan