Hello everybody and thank you for reading our posts so far! I have been so blessed to be a part of this year's trip. I mean, what an amazing experience it has been to get to know these amazing individuals before and during the trip. I remember my last post talking about how excited I was for this trip to be a memorable and meaningful one, remarking on how fast time was passing as my (super)senior year was flying by and it was getting closer and closer to Spring Break. Well even more time has passed and, in the blink of an eye we are all here and we are doing some really great work together.
The biggest theme I have taken from my time here so far is "togetherness." We split up into two work groups every day and handle completely different projects and then at the end of the day come together and discuss everything we learned from our experiences. It is like this whole trip is one big service class room and we are participating in these projects that teach us volumes about life and how impacting service is on creating a valuable experience for everyone involved.
Even though we are not all together during the work day, when we finally get together around 3 in the afternoon at Camp Wilkes and ASBreak down our days to one another we ASBond (I'm sorry, I really love using B words!) in the a really special way. These conversations about the service we had really help us appreciate how united we all are under the same purpose of serving Mississippi and the Gulf Coast. There are so many different challenges this beautiful community has faced involving natural and man-made disasters, yet we have seen how these people come together in spite of their challenges and support one another.
Today my group worked with a Nonprofit organization "Horticulture for Humanity" which plants gardens in the Gulf Coast to instill hope in the Mississippians who were devastated by the affects of Hurricane Katrina. These people lost everything-their homes, their most treasured possessions and family memorabilia and they could not see a way out of their struggles (especially after their insurance companies neglected to help pay for any of the damage). One woman, however, saw the power that a single sunflower could have on the hope and spirit of the Mississippi people. This woman, Martha, said that Mississippi, which was popular for all these attractions like fishing, beaches, and casinos, was not home to any gardens where people could come together and just be a footprint-the human element that stays behind and leaves a mark that everyone can see as a universal marker of the human race. It was in the garden that Martha believed people would see the beauty around them, growing and developing, and feel a sense of hope and restoration in their lives.
To hear about how important the garden was to the people of Mississippi really put into perspective for the people in my group how valuable the work was that we were doing. We were not just pulling weeds and mulching in the Katrina Oak Gardens just because it was a nice thing to do for mankind; we were having an impact on the hopes and dreams of the Mississippi River by helping to preserve the gardens that would restore back hope to the community.
To me, that is what ASB is all about, restoring hope and coming together to leave a lasting impact. Hearing these people's stories and being a part of their effort to help their fellow man shows us that we can, and are making a difference and to me that's ASBeautiful.
Till next time!