When telling people that you are going on a mission trip, there is no way that they will understand the experience you are going to go through unless they go with you. I tried to picture what this trip would be like, but after day one, it was nothing like I thought it would be. All the notions and perspectives that I had were wiped away and placed with something new. These people here are poor indeed, but they are also happy and extremely hard workers. They have strong beliefs and faith in what they believe in and are more than willing to let others know about it.
During my first day here, I went to Our Lady of Guadalupe Social Services. I worked in the food pantry with an older couple that volunteer there once a week and we organized the food in bags and gave it to the people that came to us with vouchers after seeing the social worker. As I got to know the older couple, we go onto the topic of groceries and Publix. Their perspective about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers was that Publix does not need to sign on to this because they can't make a change, it's all the farm owners control. They were both wrong and right. The farm owners do control their pay, but it is the companies, like Publix, that give the money for their pay. So the penny more per pound paid directly down, the penny more they receive to live a better life.
But the part that truly made my day was being with the kids. They were so happy and energetic on the playground with us and once we got to ask them questions, we realized that these kids were children of farm workers. They seem to know that their parents work hard to give them what they have and appreciate what their parents do for them. This first day of my mission trip has impacted me greatly already and I hope to continue meeting new people and making a little difference everywhere my group and I go.
By: Sara Stefancin