Posted On: Thursday, June 23, 2011 02:45 PM, by Tina Grumbo
On Day 5 and the final destination—at least for the hiking!
Cotton Theta T-shirts helped remind me that I'm part of a long history of women who also have traveled unfamiliar territory.
I’m a Theta because of how I’ve come to define being a Theta: a woman earnest, hopeful, self-sufficient, and resolved to continue growing, being accountable, and of worth in the world.
As a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of the Philippines, I had the privilege, and indeed overwhelming challenge, to hike nearly 112 kilometers in five days through the tropical Sierra Madre Mountains with my brilliant Filipino colleagues and a great Peace Corps volunteer to visit village schools.
Standing next to Father Paul, just after we'd hiked 3.5 days through the tropics, scaled a cliff, and crossed the swiftly flowing river.
In preparation for the trek, strict choices of multitasking clothing and supplies needed to be made, and my primary shirt wardrobe was limited to a mere three Kappa Alpha Theta T-shirts. Aside from the fact they washed quite well in the river waters and the sleeves were at an ideal length to keep the curious rainforest plants and insect life off my skin, those simple cotton tops served to remind me of the countless generations of persevering, independent, optimistic women who, too, had traveled with uneducated feet through unfamiliar territory.
The good humor and tremendous aid of my Filipino and U.S. counterparts candidly and safely delivered me through the mission, yet my loyalty to Theta garnered me that solid footing, so to say, when I did doubt, tremble, and unfortunately experience my first (and to date only) instance of poison ivy. I was encouraged each steep, slippery, and breathtaking step by the recited promises of social, intellectual and moral growth in my Kappa Alpha Theta sisterhood, which I wore plainly on my shirt and carried unmistakably in my heart.
I was then and am now earnest, hopeful, independent, accountable, of worth in the world, and still continuing to grow because I am Tina Grumbo, a faithful sister in Kappa Alpha Theta.
Tina Grumbo, Alpha Pi/North Dakota, is a writer, advocate, and North Dakotan with roots planted in the prairie, a wanderlusting to everywhere else... and then back, again. She is also a member of the Western North Dakota Alumnae Chapter.