I never considered how hard it would be to return to normal life after ASP.
I was ready for sleeping on hard bunk beds, eating off cafeteria trays, working muscles I forgot I had and working in sub par conditions. I wasn't ready for the relationships I would form, strengthen and change. ASP is more than working on houses, it's building bonds.
I don't easily forget the experiences I have. My mind works overtime reliving conversations and moments. That's what makes re-entry so difficult.
When you ask me how my trip was I will say great, awesome, wonderful or some other like adjective. I will then usually tell you a story about the house I worked on or a funny experience I had with the group. Know that behind my laughs are plenty of tears. Tears of joy for bonds formed, tears of sadness for the poverty I saw, tears of hopelessness and for me, tears of hope. Hope, because I choose to believe that someday things will be better.
The question came up during our trip "Why do they live like this"? I wish I had the answer.
The house I worked on had a high school prom picture hanging on the wall. In the professional school photo was the happy couple holding their baby. I had a conversation with the woman who cooked our dinners. She also works at the high school sometimes. Phyllis relayed to me that she fed 10 pregnant girls that day and 2 have already delivered babies this school year. They get car seats so the babies can ride the bus with them to the school provided daycare on premises. They get special meals and snacks during the day while they are pregnant. I know this is not helping these young people reach their full potential. What to do? So, do I give up hope? No, I choose to believe that someday things will be better.
I made special relationships with homeowners I never imagined I could. I strengthened bonds with church friends I already knew. I got to know people better. The tearful goodbyes on Saturday and the warm reunion hugs on Sunday morning make me even more sure that I believe that someday we can make things better.