Featured Participant Erik Walter

Gap Program Year: 2018-2019

(Erik is pictured on the left, next to his roommate, Desmond.)

Where are you from? Brooklyn, New York.

Where are you working this year? I cook breakfast at Our House of Portland, an assisted living center for people with HIV. I also help prepare and serve lunches there. I get to know the residents. One man likes to play dominos with me, and I look forward to the end of the day when we play. Many other people volunteer at Our House, people who have a lot on their plate. I enjoy seeing my coworkers there, and am impressed by their energy.

Favorite thing about living in Portland? I love the food carts in Portland. They are an essential cog in the machine of city life. The carts often gather in packs, at lunch time they are greeted by familiar clientele; people often become familiar with certain carts. I myself am a regular, recognizable to the staff of a Thai food cart in downtown Portland.

Favorite Tivnu activity so far? Going on the many excellent outdoor trips. I especially enjoy hiking together, and when we built an igloo together.

Something that’s surprised you this year: I have been pleasantly surprised by being able to connect with and get to know people from across the country in and outside of this program.