Los Angeles Immersion: Day 3

As the adventure continues, Day 3 of our immersion to Los Angeles, California continues as we begin the intense service learning and giving back to the communities here in LA. We began the day with morning prayer and reflections, done by our Advisors Blaise and Chris. Afterwards, we headed out to Downtown Los Angeles to have lunch at a Vietnamese Restaurant run by an immigrant couple. After the filling lunch, we had an informal dialogue with an immigrant named Phoung, who talked about his struggles with coming to the United States from Vietnam as a teenager. Phoung talked about his educational pursuits, and how his culture and identity played a large role in his becoming accustomed to American life. Phoung now works as a youth minister with St. Anne's Parish in Los Angeles, and helps bridge the gap between current Vietnamese teenage immigrants and their older parents. It was very enriching to find out so much about the Los Angeles Vietnamese Community and how difficult times were for these immigrants. Freedom and Basic Human Rights are taken so much for granted these days, it was refreshing to get a perspective on an issue that is so revelant to us in Hawaii, but that is still a problem and issue for others in the world for those who are less fortunate.

After being able to sightsee in Chinatown Los Angeles and spending time at the Los Angeles Historical State Park, we headed down to the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row, an area stricken with the issues of homelessness and gang wars. It was so uplifiting to see the workers who cooked the meals so happy and so humble about the work they did, and and to be so gracious towards us while we helped. We spoke to a probation officer who volunteers her monday and wednesday evenings to helping to feed the hungry.

Looking forward to the next day brings a lot of fear about what to expect when we do go to Homeboy Industries. We'll continue to keep on working to help the less fortunate in our future projects.

Peace and Blessings,
Anthony Selvanathan (Chaminade University of Honolulu, Class of 2015)

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