After two days of sitting through meetings in upscale DC office buildings, we finally had time to explore DC from a tourist’s perspective. But before we could explore the city, we had to sit through one more meeting that was one of the more powerful meetings we had. The meeting was with the National Coalition for the Homeless, an organization geared towards teaching Americans about the severity of being homeless and how there isn’t a specific type of person who is homeless. We heard two women’s stories. Tia’s and Deja’s stories were both similar, but Tia experienced a lot more due to her age. She talked about how she went to school after being homeless, got an education, then got her masters, and then had a steady job up until 2009. In 2009 she lost everything she had and was back on the streets for over a year before getting back into the work force. She talked about the living conditions in a women’s shelter and how awful it was. Tia and Deja’s stories were incredibly inspiring because they were able to overcome such difficulty. The other part about Deja’s story is that she is my age, and the fact that she is able to get up in front of a group of kids her age and talk about her life and her struggles was really impressive. After hearing both women talk, they treated us to pizza for lunch.
Then we boarded on the bus to our next stop, the Smithsonian American Culture Museum. Here we were given 2 hours to roam around and view American culture throughout the ages. Some interesting exhibits were on the evolution of American food and how cooking television and fast food revolutionized how we eat. There was also an exhibit on travel which featured a large locomotive and a Oregon trail wagon.
After the Smithsonian we went to the newest memorial in DC, the MLK Memorial. The site featured 4 waterfalls structured to describe the state of the country at the start of each of his 4 terms. Each section also featured a different sculpture having to do with America and FDR himself including a sculpture of his favorite dog, Fala. Right next to the FDR memorial is the MLK memorial which is very powerful, but due to the rain we had to abruptly leave the memorial which was a little disappointing.