Today was our last day of service in Marvell. Ryan, Mike and I got up early on breakfast duty which included Mike's all time favorite food: tater tots. Since Riley and I finished our painting project early, our group joined Mack, Ryan, and Mike's group at C3 for the sports camp. We spent the morning talking to kids, playing games, and some of us for our nails done again by the kids. After lunch, the group headed out to the baseball field to play a community game of kickball. While the heat was borderline bearable, it didn't stop our group from enjoying our last afternoon together. Ryan and Mack's team dominated and beat Mike's team, but the match was well fought. Riley and I sat out and watched the game, eating snow cones and pickles that a community member had made. It was fun to watch because the two teams were a mix of Youthworks staff, youth, and community members, representing the tight bond we had formed over the past few days.
As we returned to the school, we saw kids playing dancing and playing in the water from the fire hydrant for water day. Water day happens at the end of each week, when a community member turns on the fire hydrant for an hour. After water day, Mike, Riley, and I drove home a few wet kids and said our goodbyes.
That night, we went to the local United Methodist Church for a delicious spaghetti dinner. One of the people at the dinner named DR gave Mike some cotton seeds that he promised to give him at the culture museum the other night. After dinner, the group headed outside into the humidity to talk, play basketball, and enjoy our last moments with the community. It was difficult to say goodbye, as we had all grown so close to the people of Marvell.
Our bittersweet goodbyes ended and we headed back to the school for our last last Large Group Gathering. We sang our last songs together and did our final YEAAAAAA GOD, and closed the LGG with a foot washing. This was a very emotional ceremony, and needless to say everyone in our group cried as we prayed together in appreciation for the time we had together. The evening ended with our last reflection together as a church, as we sadly had to face the fact that we we're leaving Marvell the next morning. We gave each other appreciations, and Mack, Ryan and I were given awards for our hard work throughout the week. That night we all packed as much as we could and mingled with the other groups, exchanging phone numbers, Snapchats, and Instagram's.
I think Mack has summarized this trip the best "I feel like I have changed more in the last 4 days than in the past 14 years of my life". I have never met such motivated, energetic, and kind kids like the ones at Marvell. They each have so much to give to this world, and have strong heads on their shoulders. These kids don't care about the situation they are in, but rather see how bright their future is, and that is truly inspirational. As we head back to the city, I know that I return a very different person, and can only hope that one day I'll have the opportunity to go back to Marvell one day.