This is a continuation of this.
A combination of loud neighbors, sirens going off all night outside, and just being in a new place equaled a sleepless night on Monday. As much as I love the city life, I definitely don’t see myself living in one.
On the agenda for the second day: the Department of Justice/Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Rutgers Federal Relations and the Haitian embassy.
Thankfully, there were no cancellations that day (at least that we were made aware of) and things ran a lot more smoothly. Without a doubt, the faculty member we traveled with and her supervisor had realized how annoyed we were at how the previous day had gone by (especially considering the fact that they have done this for so many years).
One of the things the man we spoke to at the department of justice talked to us about was how he has four brothers and all are either in prison currently or in the process of going back to prison and ironically this man works for the department of justice/federal bureau of prisons. This came up as we discussing peoples’ backgrounds and where they grew up and how your upbringing effects what you do in life. His point basically was that even with adversity, it is what you do that effects what you become in your life.
At the Rutgers Federal Relations office, we spoke to two Rutgers alumni’s. We talked about the budget cuts that would be effecting education and its impact on schools everywhere, especially Rutgers. I’ve talked over and over again about how I feel about education, and it is so sad that tuition fees keep going up, yet resources and classes that are offered (amongst many other things) keep getting cut.
Our final stop was the Haitian embassy. As we were walking there we passed the embassies of so many different countries, so that was pretty neat (especially trying to figure out what country some of the flags represented).
Anyone with half a heart has to be beyond devastated in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Haiti in January. Such a large natural disaster can create havoc anywhere, and for it to effect the poorest nation – one can only imagine!
Of course, the number one question on everyones’ mind was ‘what can we do for help?’. The man used the example of bottled water. One of the things that people continue to donate is bottled water – because if you think about it, their rational thinking is probably that water is a necessity and Haitians need it. Well, they are partly correct – they do need water, but instead of exporting water there… what they need is money to build things up once again so they can provide things for themselves.
He also told us a chilling story that gave me goosebumps. A friend of his (person A) works in an embassy (I think – I might be misremembering the place, but that’s not really important) in Haiti and it was a frantic and busy day at work. While he was doing his work, a friend of his (person B) called him and said he really needed help down at his office and if he (person A) could please come down right away. Person A told Person B that he was really busy and that he would come down later, but person B kept insisting and said ‘you would be a lifesaver’ if you came down and helped. Person A finally annoyingly agreed and as he was on his way to person B, the earthquake struck. The outcome was that Person A’s office was completely destroyed and everyone died… but person A survived because of person B!
Person A told the guy we spoke to how guilty he felt and also how person B had said ‘you would be a lifesaver’, yet person B had saved person A’s life. It’s amazing, yet so sad. The situation was completely out of his control, yet you can’t help but realize how torn the man must feel. Thankful and fortunate that he survived, yet feeling horrible that all of his colleagues died.
After visiting the Haitian embassy, we headed back to our hotel to get to our van and head back home (not before the faculty member and her supervisor wasted another half hour though).
It was pretty weird that we went to Washington D.C. and didn’t even see the White House or the monuments and memorials, considering that pretty much defines D.C.
You would think driving a four and a half hour drive (one way) and spending two days with four other students (I did know one of them from last semester) and two faculty members you have never met before would be awkward, but luckily the other four students were easy to get along with and even in the car ride – we all were talking from everything from movies to political events (we were all political science students after all!). I think who you are with makes all the difference, so it was definitely a good thing.
All in all, we got to speak to several people who gave us great advice and were quite informative, so at the end of the day – I’m glad I went.
P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.