Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Day 9-Walter

Hello everyone this is Walter Hansen writing our final blog from the New Orleans mission trip. The day started with some donuts and time to pack up for the plane. We made a plan for the day and headed out to the City Park. There I took a ride on the train and then hopped on a roller coaster. After this adventure we set back out to the World War Two Museum. There we enjoyed a 4D movie experience. I learned about the Air Force and battles with Japan. After this we headed out to Waffle House. After this event we drove to the airport, returned our vans, and got on the plane. A couple hours later here I am sitting on a plane over Nevada writing a blog. I am waiting to see my parents, and say goodbye to my old and newly made friends. 

My thoughts about today are mainly shaped from the events of yesterday. When I first went into the chapel last night I was expecting small compliments and a non-meaningful event. It turned into a demonstration of how incredible this community is. When it was time to to talk about Mr. Stafford almost no one could hold back tears. This emotion showed me that I have friends who care so much about me. This emotional wonderful event brought me much closer to the people around me. It made this entire trip so much more meaningful.

 Here Endeth The Blog. 

On the plane heading home!

Steamboat Nachos

The elusive Steamboat Nachos as tracked by Marguerite 

Day 8-Katherine & Meryt

Tuesday June 25

    Today we started the day with a swamp tour at La Place, a town just outside of New Orleans. We hopped on a boat and took a tour of the swamp. We saw turtles, snakes, and many alligators. We even got to hold a baby alligator named George. After the swamp tour, we picked up a quick lunch at Panera, and then drove back into New Orleans. We spent a couple hours at the Audubon Aquarium. We saw plenty of fish, sharks, owls, hawks, and we all watched the Sea Otter training. We also got to pet sting rays and explore a rainforest exhibit. After the aquarium we split up into small groups to walk around the French Quarter a little more. We went into shops, bakeries, and enjoyed a relaxing stroll around the neighborhood. At 5:30, we all met for a delicious dinner at the New Orleans Seafood and Hamburger restaurant. We returned home after dinner, and we had our evening gathering in the Chapel. We started by going around the circle and sharing our appreciations for each person for 5 minutes. After that, we reflected on our trip. Laurel went over everything we have done this past week, and then we passed around a candle and shared how we have all been blessed during this trip. We then went back to the house and spent the rest of our evening talking and enjoying the time that we have left with each other.

Today we were bummed that it was our last full day with each other in New Orleans. During the course of this trip we have gotten to know each other pretty well and have gotten pretty close. Together we have learned so much and realized how lucky we are to have been able to spend this week together and to be in such a beautiful and fascinating city. Today was filled with so much fun and gratitude for each other, the city, and God. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Day 7-Sofia & Kate

On Monday, we were given the opportunity to volunteer at Love in Action, a food bank.  This was our longest day of service. There were many jobs such as putting meat in the freezer to taking photocopies of people's ID's so they could get their green card to shop. What continues to amaze many of us is the enthusiasm and smiles that the people who come to the food banks bring.  No matter the situation people are in, they always come with a bright smile on their face and try their best to look on the bright side. 
 After our day of service, we went to Sydney's Snowballs.  The softest ice in New Orleans! We sat around and enjoyed our delicious snowballs.  After, we took a short walk to Louis Armstrong Park.  This was the first park that allowed African Americans to play their music and where jazz was born.  We then continued our walk to Saint Augustine Church.  By the side of the church lay a large cross made out of chains and shackles.  This was the tomb of the unknown slave.  We took a moment to reflect on this tomb and think of all those who were wrongly treated and buried nameless. We also reflected on how New Orleans thrived off of the mistreatment of enslaved people and how the people of New Orleans are trying to give those who suffered a great injustice their humanity back. We ended our day with a great meal prepared by Group Three.  They did an excellent job of making mac and cheese and ending with some fantastic ice cream and homemade cookies.
We ended the day with a discussion about justice and what we can do about it.  We mentioned how many people aren't treated fairly based on their race.  Many of us noticed that a majority of the people who we helped where African Americans.  We brought up how our service is a way to spread justice and how service should be done more often and become apart of a routine.  We also brought up that there should be more action instead of just talk.  We find that a lot of people say they want to help and should, but do not take action.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Day 6-Thomas

On Sunday morning, we woke up to a delicious breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. After eating, we drove to a small local Episcopal church called Mt. Olivet. We received a warm welcome from the parishioners, and experienced a service with them, which included an impassioned sermon about what role religion can play in solving problems in their community. Even though we were far from home, the service was very similar to ours, with the same readings and hymns. Next we did some work for the church in the sweltering heat, painting and stripping paint. We were rewarded with a delicious homemade New Orleans lunch, with jambalaya and trifle. Finally, we went on a walk to learn about the history of Algiers Point, where the church is located. Throughout our time at the Mt. Olivet, I felt a great sense of community. I saw the similarities that connect us as Episcopalians, and the concerns of a tight knit neighborhood

Later that day, a small group of us set off in the Shiftmobile to explore more of the city. We briefly saw Lake Pontchartrain, 630 square mile lake, which has the longest causeway. Afterward we visited the Lower Ninth Ward, the neighborhood most heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina. It was crazy to see the aftermath of the complete and devastating destruction of an entire neighborhood, and how after fourteen years the effects are still felt very visible. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Day 5- Bo

'Twas a busy day. We started early with a quick breakfast, and quickly got on the road towards our service site. We worked with an organization called Giving Hope, a non profit which supplies groceries for those in need of them. Overall, it was a great experience consisting of great people, fun conversations, and loads of kindness. One of my (Bo Darwin) favorite parts of the day was when an older woman gave me a big hug for helping carry her box of groceries. This simple act meant a lot more to me than I'm sure she expected, and reminded me of the great experiences I get to have on this trip. After a few hours of hard but fulfilling work, we made our way to a quiet but beautiful labyrinth in a large park (Audubon Park). We had time to reflect, pray and relax. I personally spent this time to sit in the shade, for my neck was already badly sunburned (sorry Mom but we got aloe vera so it's all good). We then visited the Tree of Life, an extremely large oak tree which was easy to climb (for those concerned parents, no one got hurt), and provided lots of shade. The huge branches drooped down to the ground like huge arms of which thick ropes (up to 4 feet long) of moss dangled from. This was quite the spectacle. We made our way home after about an hour in the park, and Riley's Group (consisting of me, Sadie, Annie, and Katherine) made our dinner of tacos for the group. They were the best tacos I've ever had, probably due to the fact that we made them. This was a nice ending to a long day, and I am excited to see what tomorrow holds for us.

Xoxo - Bo

Sent from my iPhone