My Time in NOLA

This trip will forever by my heart as one of the best and hardest trips of my life. I’ve wanted to go on this service learning trip ever since I came to CSUCI in the spring semester of 2019. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, the trip was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. Since I’m graduating in May, this was my last chance and don’t regret a single second of it. I struggled with whether to go on the trip or not because my father had been in the hospital the entire month before we left. I went to go see him the weekend before our scheduled departure and he told me to go and tell him all about it as soon as I got back. I never got to tell him about it because he passed in the middle of the trip. I was asked if I wanted to go home, but I knew that he was there, in the middle of the Woodlands Conservancy with me and that he would have wanted me to finish the job.

The very next day we went out to the 9th ward and helped the Capstone Community Gardens clear out weeds, feed the goats, and cleaned up their storage space. The day after that we drove out to Buras and laid the groundwork for even more food gardens. Working for the people of New Orleans is exactly what my dad would have wanted me to do and I did my best to continue his legacy of helping people while still trying to mourn this deep loss.

I made friends on this trip that I will never forget and I will hold dear for the rest of my life. We met some wonderful people in NOLA that I hope to see again some day. In fact, I plan on helping the NOLA teams in the coming years (on my own dime) in any way that I can. I believe any student that has the ability to take this trip, no matter their major, should go out to NOLA to learn about the culture, the history, the people, the impacts, anything they can.

While the work was hard and the days were long, it was so worth it and I can’t wait to go again.

My memorial tattoo for my dad with the coordinates in Woodlands Conservancy where I got the phone call from my mom that my dad had passed.

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