Peace House letter #1January 6, 2005
As probably all of you know by now I am not on the Goshen campus this semester and I am instead participating in the Indianapolis Peace House program. The program consists of two peace and justice related courses, an internship and living together with the 4 other participants in an old house located in the Old Northside of Indy. So far I have only really experienced the third part of the program and so far it is wonderful. There are 5 of us in the program, myself, Anna Y, David M, Miriam M, Samuko K. The first 3 all attend Goshen, however other than Anna, I really didn’t know any of them from on campus. So far I really like them all, and we are quite diverse, Miriam although born in the states is from a Muslim background from Somalia, David was born in Mexico, and Samuka is from Sierre Leon. Also Anna and I are the only Mennonites!
These past two days have been filled with orientation which has included icebreakers such as “what’s your favorite color?” and some deeper discussions about what community is and how to create it. Although originally scheduled for tomorrow the 5 of us got the room selection decision out of the way the first night and like last semester’s group decided to just keep the rooms we were randomly assigned. Our first attempt at consensus seemed to work well in that everyone seemed satisfied with their room. That has worked out well for me in that I am going to be residing in the master bedroom which is quite large, contains two closets (one of which I may convert into a sewing room), a jacuzzi and a sauna. I have been dealing with some feelings of guilt about the niceness of my room, which I account to my high level of Mennonite indoctrination about simple living. So while I do have my own bathroom I have promised the rest of the house that the jacuzzi and sauna are there to be used.
Today a large part of our orientation in the afternoon was spent going on an informational scavenger hunt of our neighborhood, which was quite enjoyable (despite the very cold temperatures). We were divided into two groups, myself and David on one and Anna, Miriam, and Samuko on the other. As motivation we decided to make the losing team vacuum the high-traffic parts of the house. David and I won, but only by one point! It turned out to be a really great way to see the neighborhood and get some much needed exercise (considering that we walked for over 2 hours).