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

Day 4-Annie & Walter

Hello parent people! This is Walter and Annie for the blog on day four. It was a great day even though some of our plans didn't workout as we anticipated. The day started with a trip the Edible Schoolyard for our service. Our day flipped around with an unfortunate and unforeseen cancellation of the service trip. Instead, we took a hike around the Garden District and saw Sandra Bullock's mansion, along with many other examples of the beautiful architecture here. We also visited the Christ Church Cathedral. We then went back home and changed into swimsuits and headed out to the pool. There, we spent an afternoon hanging out, making friends and running away from Mike. After an hour or so at the pool, we went to the other side of the river to go to Popeyes for dinner. Then, after a short walk towards the French Quarter, we went to the Preservation Hall on Bourbon Street for a live jazz concert. We were told the show we were supposed to go to was at the wrong time, so we used this time to explore the French Quarter while we waited for the next show. After a half hour of exploring and/or searching for a bathroom that wasn't in a bar, we came back to wait in line for the next concert. With the abundance of cigars & cigarettes, the smell was terrible, and the wait was hot and miserable. However, the concert was amazing and fun. The band played several amazing tunes, including Royal Garden Blues and Little Eliza Jane. We were introduced to some of the best jazz players on bass, piano, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, saxophone and drum set. This helped us experience some New Orleans culture through music, and we were able to learn about a culture different than ours through this experience. It was wonderful, and after a long day full of fun and learning, we went home and took showers. The rest of the night was relaxing time for us to get ready for bed and spend time with each other.

The day was a great experience and our will was tested with the many changes that went on the day, including the cancellation of service and the wait for the jazz concert. The culture we were able to experience helped us learn about New Orleans and the different traditions and customs here. Even though we had a hard time with some of the twists and turns through the day and we weren't able to do our service, we still had a great time and learned a lot from our adventures. New Orleans is a wonderful place that has so many interesting things that aren't shown in San Francisco and San Jose. It was a wonderful day that helped us strengthen our bonds and friendships that we have been creating, and we both had a great time and are looking forward to today.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, June 21, 2019

Sorting beads

Mardi Gras bead mural



We took a moment to beat the heat inside of Christ Church Cathedral. 

Day 3: Sadie and Ryan

Hello Erybody!
This is Ryan (Shifty) and Sadie (Sadie). Sorry for the late update, but there was a very intense game of Monopoly going on last night, which Sadie claims to have won. Yesterday started earlier than expected, with a 6 AM wake-up for Sadie and 7 AM for everyone else. First thing we had to do was make our breakfast and bag lunch, before moving to the chapel for a pre-service pep talk. Once sufficiently pumped on spirit and verve, we piled into the vans ("The Shiftmobile" and "Earl").
Our first stop was ARC, an organization dedicated to helping individuals with disabalities. Our very New Orleans-themed task was to sort Mardi Gras beads for re-sale. We worked diligently from 9-12 stopping only to try on a few necklaces. 
After eating our lukewarm bagged lunches in the parking lot, we got back into the vans and went to CVS for bandages (in addition to Bo's ankle, mosquito bites and small scratches and cuts are rampant) en route to the Presbytere in the French Quarter. In this museum we learned about Hurricane Katrina and the history of the city, in addition to the traditional of Mardi Gras. We also got to see the rich tradition of tourism money grabbing, walking past multiple Palm Readers and psychics (Sadie believed them). 
After a fun filled day we hippity-hopped to Walmart where we were split into three teams. Each team was given a budget of 70 dollars and asked to plan and purchase a full dinner for the group (word on the street is that Riley's team went 20 dollars over budget). Conflict arose when all 3 groups immediately decided to make tacos, but was thankfully resolved and we now look forward to Mac n Cheese, Salmorej├│, and also tacos. After our adventure we returned back to our home base and chillaxed (and by "chillaxed" we mean lost to Marguerite in her first ever game of Oh Heck). 

Shifty: I enjoyed the day, taking to heart Stafford's words that "no task is too small". Though the job we did was not very personal, it has a large impact on the community, which at the end of the day is what's important. Also, the museum was the second museum I have ever enjoyed, and the hour and 15 minutes we spent there were enlightening (I especially liked choosing my prom outfit for next year out of the gay-Krewe section with Riley). At the end of the day, I felt closer to those I'm on the trip with and my energy is revamped in anticipation for an entire week full of days like this. I miss everyone back home and the 8 of you reading this as I pass it to Sadie.

Sadie Ray: I found our work yesterday meaningful precisely because of its menial nature. The task itself entailed organizing beads, a mindless and simple action. What made it meaningful was the people we were working with. Having workers from the organization working along side us and directing us reminded me that true service entails doing whatever is needed from the community you're serving, even if the task is as small as de-tangaling necklaces. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

First Day of Service

Sorting recycled Mardi Gras beads for the ARC of New Orleans. This is their main fundraiser.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Doing some breakfast shopping. Gumbo, anyone?

The Mississippi River


Day Two: Mack

The second day of traveling with the rockstars and celebrities started with a makeshift breakfast. Mike, Kate, Katherine, and I went to get stuff from a store. We forgot butter for the bacon and had to get it from a Cafe across the street. We had 2 hours after breakfast before we went to explore, so some of us walked around the area and through Armstrong Park. The whole group then climbed into Earl and The Shiftmobile and headed into the French District. Then we went to Cafe du Monde and got beignets. After eating these delicious pastries, we went and explored, walked through Jackson Square, explored a mardigra mask store, and an open market. Some people tried gator bites and frog legs, while others got snow cones. Next we went and sat by the Mississippi River with our snacks. We all then got back into Earl and The Shiftmobile and drove YWAM house in Algiers. We met Laurel who will be leading our journey in New Orleans. Then ate po' boys by the river. Finally we went on an adventure to a cemetery that was made by John McDonough, a plantation owner from the 1800s.

It was a rough day dealing with all the whining of cold weather people stuck in the hot humidity. But all the jokes, food, and exploring "made it better" than expected. Going to the cemetery was originally an odd experience. There seemed no purpose of exploring a cemetery, it seemed to just be people we remember and eventually forget. But after walking through and seeing stories being told through names and dates, I realized each family's tomb told an incomplete story that may have been lost. The group reflected on the stories of the people in the cemetery.

The night had a cool breeze and got Sadie, Walter, and myself out for a run of about 3 miles once we got back to the house. Bo unfortunately hurt himself jumping over some flowers, but luckily his ankle is feeling better after some ice. I can't wait to see the neighborhoods and explore the cultures of New Orleans in the week to come. 

Day One-Miranda & Anhai

Our mission began at 10:30 on Tuesday morning. We took 2 hours going through security and checking our luggage. This meant, however, that we just barely arrived in time to board the plane. The duration of the flight was about 4 hours, and many of us chose to spend it watching TV or sleeping. We arrived in humid, hot New Orleans and rented our car for the week. These vehicles were promptly named "Earl" and "The Shiftmobile".(One purposefully named lesser than the other, you decide which). We decided to change the original plan to find a restaurant, and headed for our air b&b for dinner. This air b&b was especially exciting, because it was described as being for "celebrities and rockstars". This large, modern space was very cool and relaxing for us San Franciscans who were melting in the New Orleans heat. We ordered pizzas and then got to know each other better through conversation in small groups. We loved each other's company, and are excited to continue adventuring together. 

This first day was full of anticipation, as we prepared to arrive in New Orleans and didn't know what to expect. The initial difference from San Francisco that we noticed when arriving in New Orleans was the heat. At first we felt miserable, but knew that we would soon get used to it. Overall, the first day left us feeling excited to begining our journey together. 

Beignets at Cafe du Monde!


We arrived safely and on time to New Orleans, and in the bustle to get our luggage and vans forgot to post. Day 1 reflection and pictures coming soon! 

Monday, June 17, 2019