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A Trip Downtown: CSI Reflection

posted Jun 9, 2012, 11:25 PM by Golden Knight   [ updated Jun 10, 2012, 9:26 PM ]

Posted in Campus 

By Delfin Acosta 


This service immersion experience was an eye‐opening one. Although I had gone on CSI (Christian Service Immersion) during last year’s spring break, I found that this one was equally as poignant. When driving in, the experience of seeing how the neighborhood would turn from bustling and prosperous to run‐ down was incredible. The stark contrast between those who are relatively wealthy and those who have nothing was made very clear as we passed through downtown. 

After we parked and began walking through the worn down streets, the reality of it all began to set in. Seeing the poverty and suffering from the van we were in was similar to watching something on TV, simply viewing something though a pane of glass, but never seeming very real. Yet, being outside with all the people asking me for a pair of socks (since I was carrying the box of socks), something so simple and taken for granted as a pair of socks, all those surreal illusions faded away. These were people, just like myself; people who, like the lady at the Manning Center said, have had similar hopes and dreams at my age. The lady there made it very clear, that the only difference between them and
 me was perhaps a bit of bad luck or misjudgment, losing a job, or some kind of run‐in with drugs. Yet, despite this gloomy, yet very real start to the day epitomized by the Manuel’s tour of Skid Row, hope also had its place in the day. Even during that tour, Manuel showed us the various organizations which offered 
help to people on skid row. Later, when we began our tour of the midnight mission, the brutality of the outside environment clashed with the hope of change within. Our tour guide’s story showed us that anyone can end up on Skid Row, and that we can help make a big difference in people’s lives.

As the day wrapped up, we went back to the vans and began going back to St. Francis.  The contrast between Skid Row and almost everything else that we see on a daily basis became evident once again. It was a huge reminder that we live in a time where we can choose to be blind or we can choose to see; yet, as Jesus said, we are called to be the city on the hill, every person a light to the world.  Over all, the day was a particularly personal reminder for me that service must be a part of my life.  It is the basic responsibility that I owe to every person on skid row along with the simple gift of compassion that everybody deserves.