By Tori Raine
With the 2018 classes of DiscoveryBound’s National Leadership Council out on their service trips to Guatemala and Peru for the next two weeks, alumna Tori Raine (2012 class) reflects on her own service trip.
The DiscoveryBound National Leadership Council (NLC) was a program that changed my life in so many ways. I think one of the most significant ways – and one of my strongest memories – was from my service trip to Peru and, more specifically, our visits to the homes of people in the local community. These visits, while in Peru, changed my perspective on life for the better.
Families in these small villages get by with very little and still they have an amazing outlook on life. Their sense of family and community was so sincere and so strong that it caused me to reflect on what I placed importance on in my life. The first thing I noticed was they were so sweet and welcoming, and so happy to have visitors.
The family I visited had a television, but no electricity. The TV was more for pride of ownership and being able to afford it, even though they weren’t able to use it. They had a queen-sized bed frame with no mattress but a bunch of blankets piled in it for their family of seven. But only the women slept in it, because the males of the household wanted them to be comfortable. There was so much love behind every decision the family made, and it showed.
They also had a chimney that they had just put in and a stove. The importance of the chimney was so the house didn’t fill with smoke from the fire. We worked with a company and with the families to add chimneys so they didn’t breathe in smoke.
The families in the community had to walk down a mountain, a decent distance, just to get water and then hike all the way back up with their water. Each part of the community had a water tank put in that would be refilled each week to cut the trips in half, at least.
Now, this trip to Peru showed me the importance of family and community, and of using love in everything you do. The impression this family made on me has carried with me since that trip, and I am so grateful for that.
Also, this trip – and my four years in NLC – taught me how to put different situations into perspective, how to adapt to circumstances specific to these different situations, how to communicate more effectively with various individuals, and so many more applicable skills. I found myself using these while I was in college, managing my college rugby team. Now, in my new job as the NLC program supervisor, I am using these same skills in different ways.
Joining the National Leadership Council was one of the best decisions of my life, and I find evidence of this program in practically everything I do.