Class of 2013-2014
So a lot of times when people hear of the US, they think of opportunities; it’s the land of milk and honey. Being a Kenyan born and raised in the coastal regions, I have witnessed what the idea of going to the US has done to the ears of those who had not had the chance to experience the US in its raw and rare form. The stereotypes that have emerged from Africa generally hail from a place of “haves.” Living here in the US for 4 months now has played a huge role in the way I have viewed my world. Everyone in this corner of the country works hard. Sometimes, they work much harder than we could even fathom.
Youthful teenage girls have walked into the daylight with strollers, searching for what seems to be a source of employment that will ultimately take care of the shelter and little food that should feed the four others waiting for them at home.
We each exist within a movement. A cause in which we believe can create community and move mountains, something that probably exceeds passion but springs forth belief. Health is one of the movements I have strongly come to be a part of. Working with vulnerable populations and witnessing the work of your hands moving spirits is practically the order of my day at Covenant House in Newark, NJ. Sharing the call to service with one other fellow at Covenant House also brings great perspective on how we work and how we can create synergy at work.
Covenant House believes in sanctuary. What that means is that we serve with purpose and a mission to motivate our young people to step ahead towards making wise decisions and choices. We help them realize that choice is what they have, what they will always have. However, the consequences of these choices are irreversible. Innately my opinion is that this is a universally adopted notion of truth. I am my accomplishments. My achievements as a young homeless person will always be mine, and as a young person I will make use of the resources available to me for my next step forward. The American dream or the land of milk and honey isn’t a collective, achievable goal. It is my duty every day to create and re-create my own definition of a dream within the spaces I exist. So I ask this question again. Is there an American dream? What does it look like? How does a young person with no home experience it?
The only form of a dream that I have seen exist in the last four months is the strength of community at Covenant House.