Monday, January 5, 2015

A New Feeling

This is familiar, this feels the same, this is what I'm used to in a way and these are things I felt before today. This time last year I had recently returned home from Afghanistan completeing my second deployment in less than two years. I was used to the idea of being away, I was used to the foreign countries, and I was used to providing medical treatment to people I could barely communicate with. Applying for this service trip was in part a way for me to keep deploying even though I was no long apart of the military. The other part of me just wanted to keep helping people using the only skillset that truly enabled me to do so.

The first night in Guatemala felt all to familiar as most deployments follow the same routine. Landing in a new country, getting situated and finally getting to the mission at hand as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately I have to admit that the beginning had yet to phase me aside form being in Guatemala for the first time, the trip had yet to provide me any surprises. More than anyting I was just eager to get to work and hope that the awe of being in a new place would intensify as I finally got to interact with a new culture of people. I had expected everything to be within my element and whatever was new to me I would pick up quickly as I had previously done in such a situation. However, when we finally arrived at the clinic my expectations were very quickly tossed aside and then there was nothing but an open mind.

Rabbi had told us about the recognition Xavier University had recieved for all its hard work, he mentioned the imprint of the Interfaith symbol on the outisde of the clinic. When everyone was marveling at the symbol I found myself looking elsewhere. I was instead taking in the reaction that Rabbi was experiencing and found it hard to remember the last time someone was so passionate over something positive. This event was something that I kept in mind throughout the day reminding me of a common military phrase "honor those who have gone before you." Working in the clinic has taken me out of my element and allowed me to experience something I've never felt before. This feeling of ambition was something I believed only the military could bring me but now there is a new found pride in what I'm doing and who I'm working with. There are only a select amount of times I have ever felt in my life when I knew I was doing an absolute good, and I am confident to say this is one of them. This was not familiar, this did not feel the same, I was not used to this, and this is how I feel now.

Ralph Banchstubbs

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