Friday, March 30, 2012

What we learned and what we are taking away, March 30th

March 30, 2012

Our closing ritual was a perfect ending for the trip. One of our site supervisors, Nicole came with her boyfriend Trevor.  The evening included performances, reflection and gift giving. The performances were Laila doing one magic trick, our 4 Shenanigans singing 2 songs in perfect and beautiful harmonies, and Trevor playing Amazing Grace on the hand whistle. (hard to explain but pretty amazing.) Gifts included several funny poems, cards for everyone in the group, a house of cards with its own house of cards blog and St. Bernard’s t-shirts for everyone.  There was much laughter and appreciation.  For our reflection everyone wrote things they learned and a takeaway from the trip on an index card.  We leave you with those lists:

Things we learned:

How to apologize without continuing to place blame on the other person

The Mississippi River moves

How to dry wall and mud and the importance of each step of construction

That some people believe that the levies were purposely blown up in order to divert water from the French Quarter in the lower 9th ward

How to mud

A lot of interesting stories about people who lived through the hurricane

The amount of devastation from Katrina

How to sand, skim and prime dry wall

Alligator tastes great

How to mud and sand and how important it is

How to draw Massachusetts

About the culture in rural Louisiana

Rookies can learn mudding pretty quickly

How to mud/sand/float/skim

What a house looks like beneath the paint

Some new Taylor Swift songs

People really do wrestle Alligators

What YOLO means

How to build a house

How to put aside past problems with people

Southern culture

History of hurricane Katrina

How to mud with Nicole, it was great and I’m really appreciative

I am a lot more capable with a 6 inch knife than I thought

Southern manners

The importance of showing you care

How to mud

Conspiracy theories about levies

About bayous and alligators

How to love

That Jews have lived in NO for many generations

From Laila that to love someone is to tserve them and to serve someone is to love them

I also learned that acceptance is an important part of love

About Jean and James’ story and past

How much goes in to creating a home…something I will no longer take for granted

How to do things that I never knew I could do

Building a house is harder than it looks.

Things we are taking away from the experience:

That giving my time and doing community service make not only a physical impact, but also a mental impact on the people who are being helped.

Many memories, some good, some bad but overall a great experience.

Hardwork –even if something is deemed annoying or painful, can make normal activities seem sweeter.

To always cherish my house and family

To always share love and acceptance whether appreciated or not

That people’s connections to their homes can run deep and beyond the rational

I hope to always take pride in my physical place ant that of others

Every moment is a YOLO moment

To consider being an Americacorps volunteer

To think about people like Theresa

There is a way to balance doing what is right and what is helpful with what is fun to do

After hearing real stories, I am now convinced that this project is worthwhile.  I needed to meet real victims in order to feel really close to the project.

I will build houses with my dad now because he does that for fun

There are more important things than my own immediate gratification because in the long run, the fact that I am helping someone is most important

Houses are hard to build

People are really grateful for what we did here

The need is great, the flesh is weak, attitude makes the difference

Helping means a lot.  Not just giving money but the fact that we are willing to give up time to come down and help out shows people that other people care about them.

The importance of physical service as opposed to monetory contribution.  They don’t mean to reach the same end. They may be related but actually serve totally different purposes.

Southern culture is awesome and I have a new appreciation for the South

Everyone needs a home

Every little bit of work helps and a lot of help is needed

Everybody deals with tragedy in different ways and that sometimes it is hard for others to understand

We need to help the victims of Katrina and victims of hurricanes no matter how long it takes and no matter who is to blame

How many complex questions, community service raises.

Sometimes the most meaningful things in life are those that we already know a lot about.

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