Spring break recently concluded at Northwestern. Over past spring breaks, I have either been on band tour our on Spring Service Partnerships, and this year, I went on my second Spring Service Partnership. I was on a team of seven people and we went to Dublin, Ireland.
Being a part of Spring Service Partnerships is more than just 10 days over break together. Starting in January, we began our weekly meetings to prepare for the trip. During that time we talked about our mission site, fundraisers, differences in culture, and what it means to serve. Being on this particular team was one of the best experiences about this past semester. The people on it were so fun to hang out with consistently. Besides our meetings we would have suppers throughout the weeks, and it made the break serving in Dublin incredible.
While in Dublin, we worked with Dublin Christian Mission, an organization that works to serve homeless guests as well as youth in neighborhoods that have the highest drug and crime rates. During the week we would split our team up for the day, and we’d usually work with one or two other people from our team. The first couple of days I worked in a café that opened recently. The café is used as a way for the mission to connect with the outer community, and volunteers run it all. For those days we learned how to brew espresso and steam milk, as well as work the cash register. After closing, we deep-cleaned the café and kitchen. In the offices we had people doing more manual work such as clearing out and cleaning storage spaces.
On days we worked at the Lighthouse, a homeless outreach, we would prepare food for the day, serve meals, and sit and eat with guests that came through. When we weren’t working we explored the city. We took walks through local parks, shopped on Grafton Street, and explored the Temple Bar area. On longer days off we took hikes on coastal towns near Dublin. These hikes were on paths that went right alongside the water on cliffs. The week was exhausting but one of the best weeks I’ve had this semester. It was difficult for our entire team to leave. Since arriving home, we are still hanging out and talking together as a group. We have enjoyed walks, meals, and movies together. This Spring Service Partnership has had effects that are lasting much longer than the 10 days of time in Ireland.