This May I had the honor of representing Iota Lambda, TCU, and the great state of Texas in Jamaica on the Global Service Initiative trip with Alpha Chis from around the nation. Applying for this trip was definitely outside of my comfort zone, and honestly, I was a little nervous to be traveling to a foreign country with eighteen women I had never met. But as soon as we all met, it felt so normal. I was amazed at how much we all had in common, despite our different hometowns, interests, and personalities.
This week was probably the most amazing week of my life. I have never laughed so much, sweated so much, eaten so many rice and beans, and learned so much. Throughout our service work, I learned what true joy is and witnessed those with so little giving so much. The kids in Jamaica were content just to play with us, and I have never experienced such contagious energy! Each night of the trip we had a group reflection. It was during these talks that I learned the difference between helping and serving, how Alpha Chi Omega’s values are applicable everywhere all the time, and we all grew closer by opening up about our lives.
Some other highlights of the week included when I locked my seven roommates and I in our bungalow (oops), zip lining through a waterfall, swimming through a cave, singing along to 90s songs on the bus, when the power went out in our whole town so we went out for ice cream (the logical thing to do), performing a recruitment song for the people of Jamaica and their weird stares that ensued, making it on the headquarters Instagram, worshiping at a local church, and eating all the mangos possible. I also enjoyed the nickname of “Miss Texas” I was given by a guy working the zip lines. When I asked him if he had ever been to Texas, he quickly replied “No, but all my exes live in Texas.” Like I said, I’ve never laughed so much.
But don’t let all the cute pictures and fun times fool you, this trip had its’ hardships as well. There were long days of physical labor, sweat everywhere, especially in your eyes, so many mosquito bites, sunburns, and paint covering your body that could only be removed by scraping it off one fleck at a time. But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The relationships I made with sisters across the nation and the service work we participated in made the nuisances worth it. This trip really opened my eyes to how Alpha Chi is not just our Iota Lambda chapter, but also every Alpha Chi woman, active or alumna, around the nation. I have never before felt more connected to this sorority, and I now see the value in continuing to be involved in Alpha Chi after graduation. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity, that I was chosen to attend, and for everything Alpha Chi Omega has given me.