'Thank you for showing up, for getting out of bed this morning even though you know it's not a class day...' said Dr. M as she led the opening assembly with enthusiasm. It was 9 A.M. in the morning, and rain and fog covered the entirety of the Del Monte Forest, but I, among many others, was ready to go out and serve back to the community we call home. Soon enough, I was following a crew of about 50 people as we hopped on a charter bus and headed off to Monterey State Beach.
As soon as my group arrived, we were greeted by local park rangers who gave us instructions about the assignments we have at hand as well as what to do when we encounter 'special trash', such as knives, needles, etc.. In 20 minutes, our group was scattered across the beach and the recreational trail in a scavenger hunt for trash. It's truly astonishing to see how much trash there actually was laying on the sides of the road when I paid closer attention. The trash my partner and I found ranged from the smallest candy wrappers and cigarette butts to the wackiest underpants and alcoholic bottles. At one point, one of my friends even found a jellyfish buried in sand!
Here's my friend EB Diallo '21 holding the jellyfish. We named it George.
We did rounds for another 2 hours before we stopped for a quick lunch break. For the afternoon, I was assigned to help dig weeds out of the soil. What seemed to be an extremely labor-intensive and tiring job turned out to be actually quite fun! Another friend of mine even claimed that for every worm we found, he would donate one dollar to Australia, which I believed successfully boosted our morale as we dug up almost all the weeds in our designated area in under 90 minutes. For a first try, that is definitely a great achievement!
Time to dig up some weeds!!!
As we returned to campus with our arms and legs sore, the sky, all of a sudden, turned crystal clear. The fog and rain seemed to all have disappeared, and we were left with the sun shining down on us. What better metaphor about the contributions of community service than the weather itself!