*This blog was originally written during the trip*
So today, I woke up kinda late but got ready and everything quickly as usual. It's killer having to wake up so early everyday here and and we never stop so I don't have the chance to be tired. Everyday is amazing though. I have this feeling of content washing over me from doing what I'm doing and being around these people. I'm genuinely falling for this experience emotionally, and it's really scary because I have no idea how I'm going to take having to go back to Massachusetts.
Well, today (Tuesday March 19th) we demolished this minister's home. This church has an temporary minister currently because they had a falling out with the previous one. Now that they have the chance, they're going to redo the whole house. It used to be dressed up in 70s stuff and whatnot, which I guess they were sick of. They're getting a new pastor June 1st, so they have that long to do the whole house. Which I think is pretty neat.
We started off with taking off the window sills and putting away some lumber that was next to the shed in the backyard. Then I swept with Amy for a bit... did some raking... I was pretty much all over the place with this project. I was intrigued by this kid Joey. He was 18 years old and from Biloxi, the only young person that I've met from here so far. So after lunch we all went to the cemetery across the street to see headstones. Other people were asking Joey questions and the journalist in me kicked in and I started to ask a bunch of my own. I asked about his life and somehow we got into this conversation about stereotypes. This is why I was so impacted because coming down here, my grandpa told me that they don't like "colored folk" down here. It surprised me because they were being friendly to me and I was so happy because they weren't treating me weird because if how I looked. This I did not expect at all. Also, this started off because he called me a Yankee. Not Joey, the other guy, possibly 23 or 24. After this we did a reflection activity where we had to answer something along the lines of "because of the stereotypical thing that people think of when talking about volunteering, how do you see what you're doing as valuable?" I gave this schpeel about how I volunteer because you see commercials about people asking for money for causes and how they are all these bad things going on in the world and about how I didn't want to donate money, I want to do something about it. Be active. I want to be hands on and take action and personally make a difference.
The people in my van liked my answer apparently because I got the "Dunkin Donuts scholarship." Before the trip I didn't have the chance to go to many ASBonding activities due to work. Being here is like a giant bonding experience and I'm realizing how magnificent everyone in this group is. Everyone gets along and the dynamics just work well. All of our personalities combine to make this great force and I'm just so proudly attached to the people here. And I'm pretty sure that's not going to go away.
Avarie Cook, Class of 2016