Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Orleans

So one of the great opportunities that is offered at St. Mike's are the MOVE Extended Service Trips.  This year I participated in the trip to New Orleans where I worked with Habitat for Humanities painting the inside of houses for homeowners.  I was so grateful for this opportunity and highly recommend it.

One of the nice things about the New Orleans trip was that I got to see a lot.  On the first day down we took a driving tour of the lower 9th Ward which has been mostly redone but still had a lot of houses with the X that described what was found in the house.  Also, we drove around the city and saw the comparison between the two areas and how different the areas really are today even though they are right next to each other.

On our second day we attended mass at St. Peter Claver in New Orleans.  The Edmundites, who founded St. Mike's, founded this church.  It really cool to see the how the community came together and was really welcoming to those visiting.  They even sang us a song!!  After mass we enjoyed some time in the heart of the city where we ate Beignets at Cafe du Monde and dinner at Mother's.

Monday was are first day of service work.  We took down the decorations at the Peace Mission Center, where we were living, and decorated it for Mardi Gras.  It was so much fun looking at all the different decorations and learning more about the holiday because we don't celebrate it nearly as much as they do down south.  Also, we took a trip to Mississippi and saw what damage the hurricane had done.  I know it has been a little more than 6 years but you could still see some aftermath.  One of the most interesting things was most of the houses destroyed or damaged were gone.  You would see random pieces of  a home left, like a chimney or stairs.

Tuesday started our work with Habitat.  We ended up painting mostly and by the end of the week we were experts.  By working with others, I can say I learned a lot.  I am not the most confident on ladders but by the end of the week I was scrambling up and down them without much of a hesitation.  I also learned how to paint up to a corner between a wall and ceiling and how to use power tools.  On our final day we got to meet some homeowners and hear their story.  At first it was kind of disappointing to realize we had to paint all week but when we got to see how happy the homeowners were at the end of the week, it was worth it.

The group of us celebrating after a successful week on roller skates

This week reminded me a story I heard and I'll leave you with that: 
You are walking along the shore. While wandering down the shore you see a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked.  As you draw near, you see that he was throwing a starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea.  When you draw close enough to him, you ask why he was working so hard at this strange task.   He tells you that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die.  You say to him that you thought he was foolish.  There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach.  One man alone could never make a difference.  He smiles as he picks up the next starfish.  Hurling it far into the sea he says, "It makes a difference for this one."

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