In Their OWn Words: May 2019 GSI Participants
The Global Service Initiative serves as Delta Upsilon’s international service project and philanthropy. Since 2011, GSI has taken students to Jamaica to engage in hands-on service. This often involves working with a local school to build new facilities or improve existing ones. The experience also helps students build global competencies and reflect on how their work relates to DU’s Four Founding Principles. At the chapter level, DUs fundraise for GSI each year to help fund the overhead costs of the program.
During the trip, participants have the opportunity to blog about their experience. Below are excerpts from the participants of the May 2019 GSI trip to Negril, Jamaica. You can read the full entries at deltaupsilon.wordpress.com.
Casey Attallah, Christopher Newport ’21
There are two types of people who come to Jamaica. Most people look toward the beaches, but there are a select few who look toward the culture as a whole. If you come into Jamaica focused on just the sunsets, white sands and turquoise water, yes, it may be beautiful, but you are blinding yourself to the rainbow of colors, culture and people the entire country has to offer. The work we as participants of the GSI are doing is for the people of Jamaica, the culture of Jamaica, the true Jamaica.
John Sauseda, Oklahoma ’19
When I first got here and saw the school, I couldn’t imagine growing up and learning in these environments. We are even being loud and working just outside their classrooms. Even though we may be disturbing them, they never forget to smile whenever they get the chance to see us. It brings warmth to my heart to know that we are giving them a place to excel and grow.
I chose not to wear gloves because I really wanted to feel the work we were doing. Whether it be a hot nail getting ready to be hammered into the wood, the cement running through my hands, or the shovel, I know that when I reflect back on this trip, I will remember those feelings on my hands and the lives I impacted.
Hunter Lang, Indiana ’21
We were gifted with the opportunity to join part of the local community at a Pentecostal church service. Growing up as a Catholic, I had an expectation on how church is run; however, that was changed the second I entered this local worship space. As I entered the church, I grew a sense of confusion and shock as I saw some people kneeling in quiet prayer while others sang and danced through the aisles to loud music. I soon grew out of this slight discomfort as I joined the congregation in clapping along to the worship songs. At this moment, I began to feel a sense of community with these complete strangers.
Through the seemingly chaotic worship in front of me, I learned a crucial lesson. I learned that despite everyone in the congregation seeming to worship in their own way, they ultimately all came together for one common cause. … Whether it is a church in Jamaica or my DU chapter at Indiana University, I have realized that in order for a community to succeed in its goals, it must encourage each member to contribute in a way that best fits his or her strengths and character.
Tim Paschal, Nebraska ’19
Today, we had a rest day from the worksite and were able to immerse ourselves into Jamaican culture. We headed to Zimbali, a Rastafarian retreat, for an incredible daytime excursion. Up on the mountain is a community of people that farm the land around them, and they use the resources of the land to feed themselves and others.
After a tiring hike, we got to sit down with a couple of musicians, and a drum circle was created as we learned how to play some of the instruments on-site. Following the jam session, we got to enjoy a deliciously cooked meal from the people at Zimbali. The meal was cooked with the ingredients that grew on the land, and everyone loved it. It was a cool experience to peek into a lifestyle not very familiar to us, and the experience helped us to understand what life is truly like for some Jamaicans.