We’ve barely been here for three days and it feels as though we’ve been here forever. So far we’ve managed to master (sort of) the subway system, walk a ton, do service in a church and at DC Central Kitchen, and eat some of the best meals ON THE PLANET (Merzi in the Penn Quarter has the best chicken I’ve ever tasted).
Another unexpected twist, for me at least, was seeing just how well our group has meshed together. We’re an incredibly diverse group– both ethnically and in other ways. I’m not going to lie, when I first found out who was also going on the DC trip I was a little bit skeptical about us all getting along, but it was like we got on the Megabus and we were family.
Back to day one!
We got on the Megabus, which promptly broke down (turns out the Megabus was a mega-bust). We loaded onto another bus after an hour of sitting on the side of the freeway and made it all the way to DC without a hitch. We hiked for 20 minutes to the William Penn House, were welcomed with a group meeting, and then went out to an early dinner.
Then it was day two!
We woke up, had breakfast, and went out to a church in a more business-y district of the city. We prepared simple meals, sandwiches and packaged goods mostly, loaded up three shopping carts with the help of William, a well-meaning and previously homeless schizophrenic man, and walked three blocks to the park.
In the park we had a church ceremony for the local homeless. It was freezing, and I was struck by all the people who showed up. Not only homeless were at the brief ceremony, but so were men dressed in their business attire. One woman I saw was wearing a flamboyant fur coat.
I knew, as I stood shaking in the icy breeze, that I was going to be inside a warm building very soon. But I also knew, as I stood shaking in the icy breeze, that most of the people reciting the 23rd Psalm with me would not. They would stay outside and enjoy their meager meal of PB&J and applesauce, and then they would stay outside when it got cold too, at night.