Although we only served 5 days in the beautiful city of Lafayette, I learned more on this service trip than I did in any of my classes this semester. Not only did I strengthen my construction skills, learning how to use new tools and meet inspection deadlines, but I learned about the culture and unique lifestyle that Lafayette is home to. I met the most welcoming and loving construction crew of Brandi, Maddi, Matt, Steward and Martin, hardworking and caring homeowners such as Shantel, and even got to connect with second year HES students like Matt and Annalese. I have fallen in love with Habitat for Humanity and the city of Lafayette and with my passion for helping people I hope to lead a service trip back to the city that gave me so much love.
Our journey begins on a Sunday… church Sunday to be exact. Now I am not about to praise Jesus in my sweatpants so naturally I went with a look that was a little more business like, after all I was going to meet Jesus and maybe the Holy spirit if I was lucky. Not worried about time I knew we could go in, acquire the coffee, and take some pictures. I get down the elevator say a heartfelt “good morning” to both Olivia and Liv and off we went to accomplish the mission. We got on a bus going downtown excited to get the coffee, but most importantly excited to get this event over with as we had much work to do, and then it happened. We had managed to successfully pick the day where all bus routes would be deterred due to a marathon. There we were stranded on a bus that had missed our stop, alone with only each other to keep us company. We got off at the next stop with no coffee beans in sight. After walking what seemed like twenty minutes we ended up at a familiar place… North Market. Now we had been there before with Professor Tuttle, but we had never really explored and gone in by ourselves. With the look of hunger plaguing our faces, we knew it was destiny. Looking around we saw many tempting and exotic foods, until we saw the most beautiful thing ever. It was a local breakfast pace that was Pollo Loco with chicken as it’s main inspiration. Being half chicken nugget myself based on the food I eat, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the breakfast burrito.
I took 0ne bite and it was like an angel had lifted me up to heaven. The egg so soft and flavorful, the chicken sausage hearty and meaty, the potatoes sauteed to perfection, and the cheese as gooey as it’s grilled companion. It wasn’t some small portion that made you question your life choices, no this was a beautiful creation meant to keep you full. After finishing this masterpiece I shed one single tear knowing that I would never get to see that burrito ever again. As we got on the bus we ended up getting lost a second time and before I knew it I was late for the lord. You might ask yourself “Alex aren’t you sad about this?” in which I would reply with a simple “no”. This experience no matter how crazy it was was one of the best Sunday’s I had ever had. Would I suggest that you have access to apple maps and make sure you plan your adventure more in order to get to your destination? No, because if we just went to some coffee shop just to get this assignment done, we wouldn’t have bonded and become stronger as a group. I would suggest maybe doing some light jogging and stretching before hand because we walked like three miles and my legs were tired which was awful. You don’t need to be Dora the Explorer to have a fun adventure, you just need good people and I had that. Also the burrito is to die for so if you ever are in a pinch and are like wow I am hungry and I want breakfast you should go get yourself that burrito.
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Out of all the classes I have taken this semester, I would have to say that my service learning class taught by professor Howe, had to be one of my most favorite classes so far. Using the information we learned about the values of service learning and how to work with a community instead of for, I came in with an open mind not really knowing what to expect. With the site being nearly 3 hours both ways, the service site at Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) would be a big investment time wise for me.
After getting my background check completed, I was ready to start volunteering at two locations “Heritage Apartments” and “Whitehall”. Once I got there though, it was as if the students already accepted me as one of their own. We laughed and drew pictures, did countless worksheets of math and science problems, and even talked about Ohio State football. Grades started to improve significantly, as homework was being practiced and practiced, but most of all these students really wanted to learn.
Given the limited resources that each location had like space, education tools, and snacks, I didn’t feel as though being a double major in physics and astrophysics would have the change that I desperately wanted for these amazing children and others like them. So after some talking with my peer leader, I decided to switch my major to STEM education. From that sparked my passion to work with students in intercity schools, because I really do believe that there is so much potential that just needs a little of help to shine through. I am so grateful for having the opportunity to meet and tutor some amazing and talented students, all of which I know will grow up to do important things and be some of the best future buckeyes Ohio State has ever enrolled.
Although it may look like just a random pair of boxing gloves to someone for me these gloves represent my independence of fighting back. If there is one motto I live by it is “One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time”. Boxing has been an avenue for me to really push myself both physically and mentally in order to be the best version of myself. Training teaches me to have discipline for myself and respect for the others around me, while my fights prepare me for the punches life is about to throw at me. Like Rocky Balboa says, “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how much you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward”. I have been knocked down so many times in my life living through poverty and family problems, but I don’t dwell on my struggles. I use them to make me a better fighter, a better student, a better friend because I already hit rock bottom, and there is no way I am going back.
Hey! My name is Alex Bassiouny and I am a proud first generation student at The Ohio State University. Originally I was a double major in physics and astrophysics, but after my experience with Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS), I knew that I needed to change my major to something that would have a greater impact on the lives of the children that I had the honor of teaching. I changed my major to STEM education and with my new found passion, I strive to work in intercity schools to help less fortunate students have the opportunity to go to college and thrive. I am a competitive boxer, who unfortunately isn’t allowed to box until sophomore year due to my concussion earlier in the semester. I am a strong a I am a strong advocate of Civil rights which is why I protest and make my voice heard on important issues through my artwork which has won two years in a row for the Southwestern Ohio Education Association (SWOEA) Dr. Martin Luther King Social Justice Contest. My biggest passion however is helping others as so many people have helped me get where I needed to be today. Currently I am in the Humanitarian Engineering Scholars (HES) where our goal is to understand global issues and make an impact through learning and community service projects. In HES, my group and I ended up creating a sleeping bag like design as a makeshift homeless shelter that was not only effective, but it really addressed the needs and concerns of those who are homeless.