Finally, the last leg of our journey was spent in Guatemala where we truly embraced ourselves in the culture and learned about the war/genocide that took place and how the effects are still occurring. Some things we learned about way back in Chicago such as the common good and preferential option for the poor could be seen in Guatemala as well. During our time we also learned about the coffee growing and selling market because many of our host families were in the coffee business. Finally, we were able to live and laugh with our host families and were given the opportunity to explore and experience all that Guatemala had to offer.
After an exciting twenty seven-hour train ride we had arrived in Albuquerque, New Mexico to begin the next part of our journey. Our time in Albuquerque was mainly spent learning about the Native American communities. Then we went to El Paso to learn more about immigration, by sitting in on a court hearing and speaking with refugees to gain a new perspective on the issue.
Up next was Chicago, where we learned about the hardships that many have to go through on a daily basis. I was given the opportunity to know more about these struggles such as homelessness, food insecurity, and affordable housing. While learning about the white privilege, the myth of meritocracy, the rugged individual and the melting pot. It was eye-opening to see the connections between what we were learning in class and what was happening in everyday life.
The beginning of this adventure started out in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota. Here we spent about a month backpacking along the Superior Hiking Trail, rock climbing at Tetagouche State Park, and canoeing in the Boundary Waters. All while learning and enhancing our communication and leadership skills. As a group, we also learned more about our five strengths and how we can best use them as leaders. In addition, where we embraced the common St. Norbert ideal of communio, by using the phrase “we got this, we got each other”. This portion of the semester ended with enormous amounts of growth, self-reflection, and newfound skills.