Attending one GSI is an unforgettable experience, and I would have never have imagined being able to attend this experience not once, not twice, but three times. My expectations for my third GSI experience were more difficult to cultivate than the previous two. My first year, I had one goal that summer and that was to find a way to get my chapter to care about the Global Service Initiative. My second year goal was to live more in the moment, and to support the other North Dakotan DU attending. For this year, I didn’t really have a set goal until I got to the worksite and realized the amount of work we had ahead of us. My goal then became to do what would be necessary to finish our part of the project.
Immediately, this task was daunting, but as we got continuously closer to the finish line, it became evident that our continued actions and commitment to serving the school drove our unstoppable work ethic as a group. It was bittersweet knowing that we left the worksite just short of reaching my goal for myself and the overall goal as a group. Regardless, we know that we gave it our all, and I know that I did as much as I could physically do to support the team.
Taking my thoughts away from the worksite and service, there was something different this time in Jamaica. It wasn’t the state of emergency because the feeling that I felt was lighter and more beautiful in a sense. For example, at the church service we attended on Sunday, the congregation seemed more lively. I told Kaye that I had never seen the church like this and I couldn’t help but smile the whole time. Moreover, when we went to Zimbali, all the vegetation had grown since last year. This only increased the beauty of the mountain and the awe that overwhelms me every time I go to the Rastafarian camp. Regardless of the state of emergency, the island appeared to be thriving and remained to be the happy, free of worry people I know.
Overall, from when I first set foot on the island in 2017 to when I leave for the third time in 2019, I can never say enough how thankful I am for this experience and for the work Kaye does for this program, for the people of Jamaica, and for the brothers of Delta Upsilon. This experience will always be near to my heart and will motivate my own aspirations to be an active global citizen.
Jacob Haugen, North Dakota ’20