I loved this! As a journalist, getting to read other people's writing is beyond crucial to my craft. I honestly am not the biggest fan of reading (even though I know how beneficial it can be) and have a hard time with poetry because of its ambiguity and artistry— I find that if you're not the one writing it, it can be hard to understand. I edited/ made comments on about 20 poems and I have to say, I'm very impressed. Some writers were anonymous, and others included an anecdote about their poem. For instance, there was one by Alex C (I edited a lot of his work, he showed up a lot on my feed, not sure why), which was a response to the question "what does freedom of speech mean?" The characters in his poem were flowers and nature, which seems to be a motif throughout his writing. I thought it was interesting the way he connected the human right of free speech to the basic right to life (via plants and nature). If I were asked the same question, even in a poem, I would not have thought about nature. Granted, he's a 33 year old man (as told by his anecdote), so his outlook is obviously different. I had a lot of fun!
This experience was great! Though I missed the staff-friend I made, Ruth, I worked with the head chef (Ray) and a couple other people from GW (I knew one of them very well and we had no idea we'd be volunteering at the same time). We sliced raw beef to prep it for the beef stew, which we made later in the day. We emptied countless packages of pre-made stew to make it as big as possible. We had to troubleshoot and figure out what would be the most effective way to do so, as fast as possible. We figured out that squeezing the packages on the side of the container would be the fastest method. We organized frozen meats onto sheet pans and stacked them in the freezer. All in all, we communicated very well with each other. Again, the main issue was of space and territory, as we were working as a team of four in a confined space so if we ever collided there was a lot of "oohp, sorry!" especially because we're four young women. My only complaint was that cutting beef made me a bit queasy, but I was able to move past it by talking with the people I was working with.
I had an amazing time volunteering! It started with a very quick uber ride, and I was welcomed into the kitchen (which was a little difficult to find). I've worked in a kitchen before, so I was familiar with the processes. They asked if I had been there before and I said no, and we watched a video outlining what the typical day of a DC Central Kitchen volunteer is like, and some upper-executives spoke in the video about what their goals for the non-profit are. I talked to a couple people I was volunteering with, and one was a middle-aged man who seemed like he had an office job (which might be thin-slicing), but he did tell me he works a 9-5pm and wanted to "give back to the DC community," because he had the day off. There were a couple students from Georgetown Preparatory School, and I was able to gather from eavesdropping that this was part of their coursework. I first packaged strawberries with two other girls my age in small plastic containers, but we ran into a communication problem when we realized we weren't filling the container all the way— the lady named Ruth who was directing us and served as an "advisor" to us during our time showed us how to do it properly, and we proceeded packaging them and putting on labels. There was a bit of a language barrier between us and Ruth, because her first language was Spanish and she had a very thick accent. However, we were able to work around that through listening carefully and her demonstrating what we should be doing. Then I cut up some grapevines into smaller pieces so that the vines could then be removed and packaged. Then the three of us made pancakes, which was probably my favorite part. Ruth taught us the art of properly flipping a pancake and how to get it perfect within the confines of the space. I noticed a lot of spacial awareness throughout the kitchen, and the three of us took turns flipping the pancakes. I wish I got to see the people we were serving, but I really enjoy the environment of the kitchen. It was easy to tell that the staff was very close-knit. All in all, it was very therapeutic and relaxing for me— Ruth said many people felt the same way.