Components of a Successful BLUE Service Trip
Part of what sets our service trips apart is the level of connection participants feel to their surroundings as a result of their disconnection from technology and cell-phone service. Without the distractions of social media and the Internet, volunteers are able to truly live in the moment and interact whole-heartedly with other volunteers and the community.
While on a trip, participants live day-to-day in similar conditions to the local people. There is no AC, electricity or running water during our time in rural villages. Volunteers experience bucket showers, flashlight lit bathroom runs, and hot nights. Living in this way opens the eyes of volunteers to how most of the world lives and inspires them to contribute to global development.
Volunteers will see the results of their labor first-hand while on the trip and be able to interact with the families benefitting from the projects.
Volunteers will develop basic construction skills and become experts at working as a team and cross-cultural engagement.
The final reflection of the trip allows volunteers to summarize their thoughts about the experience and analyze what impacted them most, and what they will take away from their trip. Every individual is personally impacted by the effect of the project and the bonds built with the local people. By debriefing, we allow participants to share ideas and discuss new truths they have discovered.
PRE-TRIP INFORMATIONAL MEETINGs:
Prior to departure, students will take part in mandatory trip preparation meetings where they will be learn and be informed of the mission, cultural customs, safety, and living conditions expected during the trip. These meetings are also a time for the volunteers to bond and build a sense of team between one another.
By being immersed in the local community, participants are able to make bonds with the local children and adults as they work, play, and share stories together. The friendships made on our trips are what molds volunteers into compassionate global citizens and connects them to the water and sanitation crisis on a personal level.
On BLUE trips, participants play an integral role in the completion of major community development projects. From constructing a gravity driven water system, to installing latrines in every home in the community, volunteers will work hard and experience every step of the process.
Participants will be educated on the reach and effects of the water crisis on women, children and entire communities, both during their pre-trip preparation meetings and through discussion with community members. They will also participate in a Women’s Empowerment Workshop given to educate the local women on the importance of health, hygiene, and clean water.
A very important aspect of our trips is the ability for volunteers to take time to reflect on the experiences they are receiving and how that connects to their lives personally. These trips alter the perspectives of our volunteers in a way that completely shifts values and ideas. We offer participants time to write and reflect on their own, we lead group reflections every morning, and we have in depth discussions as a group at the beginning and end of each trip.