Before I leave for Haiti...

My house is a mess. My stuff from college is strewn about downstairs, a bittersweet reminder of my illuminating sophomore year and of the hard work (finding myself in my last two years at Tufts, plus five loads of laundry) still to come.

And yet, not even unpacked from school, I am already embarking upon my next adventure--this Monday, I, along with 14 other students from Tufts, will be traveling to Haiti with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Tufts Hillel.

As I begin to organize myself and pack my suitcase for this next part of my life, I start to realize how much of what I need to and choose to bring along equates with my ultimate goals and values in life. While seemingly mundane, these objects in a suitcase are really so much more.

First, my welcome packet from the JDC. Full of facts about the JDC and its work, figures about Haiti and the devastation left behind by the 2010 earthquake, and itineraries for Tufts' upcoming trip, it represents the importance of education and the necessity of overcoming the ignorance that plagues much of the modern world.

Sunscreen and bug spray--I am sure my mother ran for industrial-strength formulas the second I expressed interest in applying for this trip. These items are my protection, the tether I will always have to home that I used to resist but now embrace.

Hand in hand with protection and a connection to home comes adventure, represented by my waterproof shoes. Not something I would normally need on the Tufts campus or in suburban New York, these shoes and the challenged they foretell also speak l the adventures--exciting, scary, unknown--in my future.

I also see the journal, which seemed silly when I bought it, but I now realize that my adventures' meaning would get lost without a place to record and look back on them. My journal reminds me not to forget my past, and also to learn from all those I encounter and to let people I meet have an impact on my, just as I hope to have on them.

Beneath the journal, the reminder to allow others to touch my life, is an assortment of beach balls and thin paperbacks--donation to the school in Zoranje, Haiti with which we will participate in a service project next week. These donations evoke a commitment to social justice, to do what I can for those who can't, that I will carry with me forever and that I will bring to all that I do.

Finally, I need to pack my passport. I have made copies, thought long and hard about a safe place to store it, and been on the receiving end of many reminders not to lose it. Of course, even without all of these precautions, I know it could never be misplaced. My passport is a ticket to all that I want to see in the future, a representation of all that I want to achieve, and a reminder of who I want to become.

- Rachel Wiskind '15

Written By

May 19, 2013 at 12:05 PM




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