For 16 years I've only seen the part of the world that I wanted to, turning a blind eye on the part that gave me a guilty conscience. For 4 hours I expected to leave a world different from the one in which I lived in, only to realize that all I had to do was open my eyes to the truth that was right in front of me: reality was scary.
For a moment, I wanted to run, to escape the pain that pierced the bottom of my heart as I watched the homeless embrace the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that we had prepared. I was only aware of my conscience, finding its way out from the corners of my mind. It was yelling at me, accusing me for things I never thought I had to do with. It made feel responsible for the way in which they lived.
How did I sleep soundlessly every night, I thought, where these people slept on the cold ground? How did I bear the fact that my stomach was full beyond the max, while theirs lay hollow? Who was I? It is within human nature to posses the quality of mercy. Was I human?
Going to Project Downtown aided me in lifting my blindfold of a perfect America. Opportunity was plentiful, I thought, anyone who was on the streets was simply not working hard enough. At least thats what I told myself to keep my state of mind. Talking to so many different people, who before lived perfectly normal lives, immediately lifted that misconception. The story of their lives, seems just like the one of an ordinary person: A perfect plan gone wrong. While we had the resources to lift ourselves from the ensuing black hole, they just weren't as lucky.
Despite the gloomy environment, I noticed a flame of hope. Hope, that one day they too would be lifted from their misfortune and go back to college or obtain their dream job. Hope that their will be enough upcoming meals. Hope that the Project Downtown radiates with its genuine Humanitarian issues. I am more than honored to have participated in such a program.
Musilm Youth for Truth Contributor
Editor's Note: To learn more on how to get involved, please visit the website www.projectdowntown.org