Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Wednesday in San Francisco

Hello everyone! This is Jessica and Kyrie, coming to you live at the hour of 12:14 a.m. This morning, after enjoying a good night's sleep, the whole group took off for The Free Farm--an operation to lovingly give healthy organic produce to anyone who so needs it. Before beginning some hard labor in the hot sun (many of us now suffer from the dreaded sunburn), Tree--owner of The Free Farm--talked to us about his goals. We really appreciated his idea of a revolution centered around a table--everyone deserves healthy food. He compared his mission to Gandhi's mission to empower the people to spin their own cotton, create their own clothing, and therefore gain autonomy.

credit to Kendra Boyle Hoban

We broke out the gardening gloves as some of us helped harvest and clear away some of the land, while another group of us helped re-pot lettuce plants. Our work definitely varied from the sweaty, laborious task of composting to the tedious separation of the roots of the baby lettuce. Before lunch, a few of us were so blessed to talk with a man named Bob and his dog. This comical character shared with us a number of his creative ideas for The Free Farm. We were delighted to talk to him, and he expressed his gratitude over simple conversation more than once. This experience really demonstrated to us the importance, yet ease, with which someone's day can be made significantly brighter.

Moving on to an absolutely delicious lunch/potluck, we shared some splendid conversation with each other as well as with the other workers and volunteers at The Free Farm today. After enjoying yummy and wholesome vegan soup, as well as salad, quinoa, chips, fruit, and sandwiches, a man named Pancho shared his great passion for food justice with our group. He really stressed the importance of the individual, and the power of the populace. Specifically, "it's not about putting people into power, it's about putting power in the people." After cleaning up, we headed out back into the field to continue working by clearing and tilling the soil to prepare for potatoes to be planted. We were also given the opportunity to walk a labyrinth organically constructed within the garden. After saying our goodbyes, we returned to the hostel to clean up, nurse our sunburns, and relax before making the steepest trek our journey in the hilly land of San Francisco has brought us.

As we walked to Grace Cathedral, we were really struck by the stark contrast between the neighborhoods we were walking through. Although we walked less than a mile, we witnessed both extremes of the economic classes San Francisco has to offer. In the neighborhood closest to our hostel, people with nearly nothing crowded the streets waiting for a free dinner to be served at Glide, but after turning a corner and walking just one to two blocks, we saw many a classy winery, fancy hotel, and shiny Mercedes. Numerous questions arose as to how and why this difference so intensely existed. Grace Cathedral gave us some time to reflect on these ideas as some of us walked another labyrinth, meditated or prayed in pews, and explored the beauty of the traditional cathedral. With intimate candlelight, intricate artwork and decor, kneeling benches, and stained glass windows, this church had a lot to take in. Also featured within the church was a quilt dedicated to those who had lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. Though we climbed nearly a mountain to get to this cathedral, we definitely found it worthwhile for the thought-provoking experience it provided.

We then returned to the hostel, enjoyed a delicious quinoa dinner (we just can't get enough quinoa, apparently), spent some time reflecting over a moving day, and spent the rest of the evening hanging out and enjoying each others' company. Now, it's off to bed to see what adventures tomorrow brings!

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