By Preston Gray
I was all set and ready to go to start up nation when it was dawned upon me that that particular “chavaya” (experience) had been canceled. Now I had to choose a new “chavaya”, none of which seemed appealing to me. As I read through the options, it could be said that I was somewhat cynical: Gadna — more like god no! Sea to sea — more like sorry not for me! And then the archaeological one that I couldn’t think of a clever name for — but I knew I wasn’t for me. So now I had one option: Tikun Olam. A few minutes later it occurred to me that I, the person who some people here wrongfully call the most high maintenance and self-centered person on this trip, am going to be helping people.
The next day we went a place called MAS. At this place, those with special needs were able to seek work opportunities. When we arrived we assisted them with their work then concluded the morning with a dance party. Although this part felt somewhat awkward and uncomfortable for me, I could tell that the people whom we were helping were having the time of their lives. The next day we picked onions and packed carrots and radishes for those who are unable to provide food for their families and themselves. From just hearing a few of these many experiences during tikun olam, it is easy to tell that these activities may not be as fun as spending a day at the beach or the mall, but they provide a different type of enjoyment and satisfaction. Knowing that I was able to provide joy for those who needed it the most, and food for those unable to provide it for themselves was truly priceless. One main lesson that I learned from this experience was how privileged most of us are to have the health and economic ability to be able to take such an amazing trip like this and that sometimes in life we all have to pitch in and Tikkun the Olam.