The girl organizing the trip--really just a loose group of students and student organization representatives at this point--warned us that it will be forty hours a week of backbreaking heavy labor, and will be deeply traumatic. Every now and then, volunteers flip out and have to be sent home (which is a reason why they need us in the first place). One member of Common Ground was beaten by police and falsely detained on grounds of burglary and resisting arrest, and he was released the next day without charge. It is not going to be easy, physically or emotionally. That scared a bunch of people out of the room, but it holds a strange appeal for me. For this is no Michael Jackson bleeding heart fundraiser--there are enough handouts, enough emergency supplies. This is hardcore, brutal, hands-in-the-dirt relief work. We are teaching men to fish. We are reserve soldiers in a war against ourselves.
And I know it's selfish to think of it this way, but this may be a good opportunity for me to test how truly resistant I am to trauma.