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Week One: First Week in Washington, DC

Walking backwards with both hands grasping Eduardo's shoulders, I guide him and nine others down the winding forest path. Ten pairs of eyes remain closed, their arms forming a chain which cautiously proceeds following the directions of my voice. It is the fourth day of our internship orientation week--a day which some in the program had awaited with nervous anticipation--the team building day at Upward Enterprises ropes course in Maryland, close to the Pennsylvania border. We arrive at our obstacle--a horizontal log about seven feet off the ground, held stationary by two tree trunks. The chain stops moving; their eyes remain closed. After a moment of confusion they line up under the obstacle and we formulate a plan. Just as we are about to begin, Billy, our facilitator for the course, cries, "stop!" "From this point on," he says, "everyone has to close their eyes!" My peers and I simply look at each other in amazement. How could he actually expect us to do this? Is it even possible to get ten people over a log seven feet in the air if none of us can see? Our plan is shot. We have no way to proceed other than blindly charging ahead. One by one, we somehow manage to get our peers over the obstacle. We open our eyes. Our group has no discernable organization yet we somehow managed to fulfill our goal. We glance around at each other in astonishment. At that moment, we realize how resourceful and determined we really are. At that moment, we realize that if we work together, we can overcome any obstacle. This is only the beginning.