Another Spring Break is over and after several days of reflecting I've come to realize how much this trip really meant. I really feel like I made a difference this time because rather than seeing just poverty, I saw the destruction of a disaster and received first-hand accounts of what really happened. The media not only withheld information, but did reveal the real image of how much hurt, and pain, and sorrow, and despair that these families, these people went through. Seeing the documentary provided and taking the tour really opened my eyes and gave me the motivation I needed to get through the week of early mornings, blazing heat, and long, hard work days.
I was not really prepared for the place we stayed because it was a little different, where the boys slept in a crate and showered in a trailer. After the first few days the six of us got used to it and I actually thought it was kind of fun! It was like camping! .... only the mosquitos were giant and you didn't know if you were going to see an alligator when you opened the door. No alligators though. Not gonna lie.... kinda disappointed.... ANYWAY!
I was baffled by how nice the people were! It was not like New England where a lot of people are just plain grouchy all the time. People were friendly! They smiled when you walked by and said "hi!" We went to Sonic and they didn't even mind that we didn't have a car! They let each of us just wait out in the stalls and they delivered our ice cream to us there! And they gave us free extra ice cream!
Then there was the real work, which of course was tough but totally worth it. I mainly worked on roofing. Now I am a guy who likes to keep his feet on the ground, the airplane for example terrified me. I wanted to conquer my fear and I wanted to come home and tell everyone that I, Terrence O'Kane, worked on the roof! And that's what I did. While on the roof we put down shingles and hammered and stuff. It was a lot of work with the sun beating down on you, but we got through it and most of all we had fun!
Then there was a day where we put down termite shields. Taryn was my partner and the two of us became known as T-Squared! Working with her made the job a lot more fun because she is just so positive and energetic. Both of us were a bit nervous of cutting our hands open, but we were careful and managed to do the job perfectly...well we messed up once but the rest of it turned out nicely!
There was nothing like raising the walls though. When a large group of us pulled the walls up we knew we were creating the boundaries that would protect this family from the elements. It was such a wonderful feeling knowing that this would help some people. The work was worth it and I can't wait to see pictures of the finished houses! They promised to send us some!
Spring Break. I am more than pleased that I dedicated it once again to habitat for humanity. I don't know a better cause for a college student. I made knew friends and created a new family and of course had a wonderful time. Thank you to the trip leaders for letting me experience this feeling of accomplishment, this feeling of knowing I was part of a group that changed peoples lives once again. Hooray ASB 2011!