Hi, y’all! My name is Lynn Ashmore, one of the 6 fellows in the house this year. It has been a hectic two weeks since we all moved into the house. I swear, there are some times that I can’t remember what happened on what day, and the days rush together. I’m from Fairfax, VA (just south of D.C.), so not only have I been new to the program, but I’ve also been new to the state. It’s created this perfect storm for events to run together, but! I am going to attempt to give you the highlights of orientation!
First, the other fellows! I will not go on a long tangent about how wonderful everyone has been. My parents currently live in Colorado and my brother is in Nashville, so it was very nerve-wracking for me to move somewhere completely away from my family. However, the other fellows have quickly assuaged my worries. While we still have a long way to go to being a perfectly functional community, I have found everyone here so willing to work together and start trying to meld our ways of life into one dance. A large part of our orientation has been discussing how to do that, and I feel like we’re starting the year on the right foot!
Second, our site visits. Starting this Tuesday, we all will be going to our partner organizations to begin work. We have all been going to the different organizations to get a feel of where everyone is working. I will not get into the boring details of where everyone is placed, but everywhere we have visited has been a delight. It’s been a joy to meet so many people who are so passionate in completely different areas. For example, one of our fellows is working at UCAN (an organization dedicated to providing fresh food to those who can’t afford it) and I’m working at Book Harvest (an organization dedicated to providing books for people who wouldn’t be able to access literature otherwise). These two organizations couldn’t be more different, yet the people there share that same passion and drive that I can’t wait to experience more of.
Third, Durham itself! Only one of our number is from Durham, but she hasn’t lived in Durham for a while and is therefore unhelpful for directions. A significant part of our orientation has been exploring and experiencing Durham. On our first night here, we had a phenomenal time doing a scavenger hunt through the black history of Durham. Since then, we have continually been to historic places around Durham or have been offered opportunities to see the city (unfortunately, this has been the part that we’ve skipped over when we’ve gotten tired and worn down). Durham has been wonderful to experience, even if I’ve only seen a small portion of the city.