Spring Break in the 313

Hi all!  Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was posting about college finances in honor of the new semester!  Since then, I have received a scholarship that paid for the rest of semester’s tuition so yay!!! But that’s not the point of the post.  I’m going to share what I did on my spring break!

So for all who don’t go to Marquette, they have a special alternative spring break program called Marquette Action Program, or MAP for short.  Each trip is focused on a certain social justice issue.  My group went to Detroit, where we focused on urban poverty.  We stayed at a Catholic Worker house, and it was overall a really awesome trip.

Now, when I told my family I was going to Detroit for spring break, I was met with the same concerns.  “Can’t you go somewhere else?” “What neighborhood are you staying in?” “Do you want me to buy you pepper spray before you go?”  While yes, the crime rates don’t lie, no one in my group was harassed or mugged or anything of the sort while we were there, and I actually felt really safe while we were there.

Basically the schedule was pretty much the same each day.  We woke up and went to the soup kitchen for the morning to serve.  The soup kitchen was really rewarding work, and by the end of the week, we were all really sad that we had to leave.  One of the patrons actually came up to me, gave me a hug, and told me that she would miss me.  In the afternoons, since we were living in a community house setting, we did chores.  I actually learned a new life skill: steam cleaning carpeting!  After some trial and error (which included me spilling dirty water on the carpet because I hadn’t realized how to keep the tank on the machine) I steam cleaned a room and one flight of stairs worth of carpet.

On Thursday, we had the whole day off, and we were able to both sleep in and explore some of Detroit.  Now, I have family who live in the suburbs of Detroit, so the area wasn’t totally new territory, but pretty much my knowledge is from going to sporting events and that’s it.  So it was cool to explore more areas of the city.  Specifically, we went to the Detroit Institute of Art and Bell Isle, an island on the Detroit River.  Bell Isle’s main attractions were closed except for the conservatory, but that was still really nice, considering they keep it 90 degrees in there for the plants!

All in all, I’m really glad I went on the MAP trip.  I learned so much about Detroit, more than I have known my entire life of having family who lives there.  I’m also really glad that I was able to really immerse myself in the city while also doing service.  I definitely recommend all college students taking advantage of an alternative break program at least once in their college career!

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Vegetarian Lasagna prepared by five college students!  (We concluded that five college students equate to one mom, seeing as how moms whip up lasagnas in what seems like no time and we took about an hour and a half to put everything together)

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Pretty flowers from the Bell Isle Conservatory

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A panoramic view of downtown Detroit as seen from Hart Plaza

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