How We Built a Home. The story of FREEDOM’s Spring Break Service-Learning Trip to Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries in Texas.
What is the home that FREEDOM built? It is a NEW CONSCIOUSNESS, a new understanding of interconnectivity, community, sustainable living, empowerment, Social activism, and spirituality.
PART I: GROUNDWORK Any home needs a foundation. FREEDOM and Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries set the groundwork for our home.
What is FREEDOM? FREEDOM is a student organization dedicated to cultural awareness, social justice, and the art of human expression.
What is Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries? FREEDOM joined Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries’ CASITA Project, building a home for an impoverished family in Matamoros, Mexico. SWGSM: • Provides a ministry of hospitality and assistance to political refugees and asylees; • Distributes food, health kits, layettes, medicine, clothing, toys, and school kits; • Coordinates mission trips for congregations; • Coordinates Disciples outreach to the poor in the lower Rio Grande Valley, to an orphanage in Mexico, and to Mexican colonias.
PART II:STEPS TO BUILD A HOME The following aspects of our trip worked together to build both the home in Mexico and FREEDOM’s new consciousness.
STEP 1: CREATION This refers to the actual process of building the Casita. Creating a physical product as a group was greatly empowering, as well as a great community-building experience.
STEP II: EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. On this trip, we learned through experience. • We visited Derechos Humanos, a poor neighborhood that exemplifies social issues in Mexican-American border towns.
Our Discussion. One site where the International Wall is to be constructed. It runs through the middle of the University of Texas. We saw a site where the proposed border wall is to be built, where we discussed the practical and moral implications of a literal international wall.
STEP III: EXPERIENCES THAT BRIDGE BORDERS • Our experiences in Mexico introduced us to another culture that helped us see the reality of our own. • We learned about intercultural communication and how to work with a language barrier. • We developed strong relationships with the family for whom we built the house and the children in the neighborhood.
STEP IV: PERSONAL AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT • By engaging in socially responsible action, we learned things about ourselves. • Using a Talking Circle format, we shared what we learned day to day and helped each other understand our experiences. • Together, we have made plans to bring our experiences back to our community.
PART III: RESPONSE …THE DRIVE BACK TO OHIO… WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE HOUSE THAT WE’VE BUILT?
FREEDOM’s Upcoming Plans: FREE FEST: This event is meant to offer free food, information, and solidarity to the Bowling Green community. Mexican culture taught us about human interconnectivity, and we want to share that with BG. Globalization Project: This event will bring student organizations together to discuss issues related to globalization such as immigration, international women’s issues, poverty, NAFTA, and the proposed International Wall. SHARE OUR HOME.