Today is our last day at home-- tomorrow Cassie, Chris and I will head off to Stonehill for our pre-departure orientation. As I write this, I am feeling a breathless mix of excitement, anxiety, curiosity and hope. I don't necessarily like admitting that I'm a little scared, but I suppose that scared means that I'm human, right?
I am confident, however, that the next four days at orientation will help prepare us and even define our own motives and goals. Much of our orientation will be spent in reflection time, which lends me a sense of calm confidence; during my H.O.P.E. trip reflections last year, I saw the powerful connection that can be formed between caring individuals who share a common service experience. I am really looking forward to building a community with the other two Stonehill alumni and Tori, the Northeastern co-op student who will be joining us in Guaimaca for 6 months, and have high hopes for what we will accomplish together.
Finally, I want to thank all the people, especially my family, who have had a part in me getting to this point. As I am about to begin my own life, I have to think back on all of the birthday parties, the holidays and the Clamboils that have kept our family so close. Every day I count myself lucky for a family that has been so vital to my development...so incredibly, essentially, formative. I realize that the greatest asset I have to share with the world is not my money or my education, it is the dedicated compassion and empathy that you have instilled in me. Whatever I do in Honduras, or beyond, will be due to you. This afternoon we had dinner with some neighbors and Sister Dorothy and Father Ted of our old parish, and although I received great advice from them all, there was one story Fr. Ted told that is particularly relevant to and revealing of my point here. His story described Chinese wedding customs, and how there are no tables at the reception. Instead, they all sit in a circle, and in the center of the circle sit the grandparents. Before anything else can be said, the groom stands up and talks about the grandparents, thanking them for their founding influence. If it wasn't for them, he says, none of the people sitting in the circle would be there, and this wedding, this celebration of life and joy, would never have taken place. If it wasn't for all of you, I would not be here today, and for this I thank you.