Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good bye, Georgia (part 3)

“When I don’t know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you"

For me, the best thing, by far, about the trip was the 30 or so people that were there. I went into the trip knowing about 5 of them from other experiences. The other people I met were just as fantastic as always on these sorta things. Some were shy at first and others were very outgoing, verging on annoying at points, but regardless I liked them all in the end. I was somewhere in the middle between outgoing and shy, but in the past I was always incredibly shy. The thing is that in a normal school setting, most of us would NEVER be friends, or even really met. It put me in a new element that forced me to acquire all of these unique friends. They made me cry and laugh so many times in those 6 days, and truly changed me for the better. I change and improve every time I go on these trips and I don’t know if I would even be ‘out’ if it wasn’t for the first NSLC trip…

One specific person I want to acknowledge is the founder of the National Relief Network (NRN) who sponsored us. The NRN is a nonprofit that takes high school and college students out all over the country to disaster zones and it is a great organization. It was founded 20 years ago and since then this man has devoted his life to helping people help others. He is genuine and sweet and I have had the pleasure of working with him twice.

Another person I want to talk about is one of the important people at the top of NSLC and facilitator of many programs, including the service trips. He is charismatic and inspirational and brings these concepts of self empowerment and love with him, and spreads them to those who he is around. Although I don’t agree with everything he says and I can see some flaws in his logic, I respect his accepting nature, his motives, his ability to lead and inspire students and the responses he creates. He, along with the NSLC, have changed me and brought out so many good things about me. I have seen him on both previous trips, but this time I saw him in a new element. I came away with so much more than ever before and I gained so much more respect for him. I had enumerable positive realizations in Georgia.
I was on his radio show "The Gift" on Air America after the New Orleans trip to talk about service, and was invited back on after this trip, but declined due to severe friend drama, which I will talk about in my next post. His charisma has even reached the attention the heads of ABC where he is being considered to host a new education based reality show.
I am not one to buy into EVERYTHING he says like some others do, but he is right about soooo many things. The world should have the opportunity to learn from him, because it would truly make it a better place… Thank you Mr. P!

I also met his unbelievable staff member who is one of the greatest people ever. She told us about running away from her home as a teenager. She is closely involved with the highly publicized and unfair trial of Amanda Knox, the American who was accused with murder in Italy, and has had to deal with publicity and death threats. During the trip was also the anniversary of her being raped by one of her friends. I was touched and amazed by her openness and courage in sharing her life with us. She is so incredibly strong and devotes her life to her students in the NSLC and at her job at the Boys and Girls Club, despite her hardships. So fucking inspirational! I want to be able to be such an amazing person and I look forward to working with the NSLC in the future so I can help kids in the way she does cuz she was an amazing TA.

Southern hospitality is no myth either. I have grown to like the South and many people in it, despite my preconceived notions. They are genuine and polite and a pleasure to be around. It still surprises me to say this because of how much I thought I hated it before I visited it a few times. I still don’t appreciate the ultra-conservative principles and old fashioned thinking of many of them, but overall I enjoy visiting the South.

I met so many other students that I have “unconditional and eternal love for.” People are becoming more and more my reason for living.
You all are crazy/loving/beautiful/sweet/strong/giving /amazing people. You made this one of the best weeks of my life! I had so much fun! THANK YOU!

People can be so beautiful and amazing…

1 comment:

  1. Anton you are a very lucky person.This whole set of posts about your trip was very enjoyable and inspirational. A lot of people just dream of or talk about a trip like yours.To me it sounds like it had a very good and positive effect on you. Hope you get your chance to fulfill your wishes.Making friends is always a wonderful thing - friends are something you can never have to many of in life.
    Regards Stef