Tuesday, January 16, 2007

For my community service project I went on a mission trip to Pass Christian, Mississippi. Here I received memories that will last a lifetime and friendships that would last forever. Going to Mississippi greatly affected me and my output on life, and I will not tell you about the best trip I ever had.

We started off in the Marist parking lot getting pumped for an eight-hour car ride. When I first came off the bus I was friends with a couple of the girls on this trip, but after the trip I know almost everything about all six girls who came with me to Mississippi. After our eight-hour car drive, we started passing through the damaged areas. I hadn't really expected a lot. In fact I didn't really expect much at all because it was a year after Katrina, and I thought that things should be pretty much fixed up. Sadly they weren't. It was dark outside so we couldn't make out everything, but from what I could see I was appalled. I remembered passing by a church with only its steel pole structure left, and seeing a bank vault laying in the middle of a field. I could see a black darkness to the left of me with signs poking out from the sand saying, "Do not swim in this ocean." I could write a six page paper about all the devastation and destruction that I saw throughout this trip. We stayed at an AmeriCorps House along with about ten other adults. We bonded with these adults thoroughly even though we were thirteen and they were in their twenties and thirties. Also in the house was a thirteen-year-old boy who we were all thankful to have with us. He helped us on our missions and everyone on the trip began to become friends with him. I just don't know what I would do if I was ever put in the position he was in, yet he acted like a normal thirteen year old boy who hadn't had a hurricane demolish his house. During this trip we also did loads of work. I never knew that I could tear down around fifty wooden tents -along with the help of forty to sixty more people- before lunchtime! I was also astonished by the fact that we had painted a shed; help move electronics that were sixty pounds to one spot to the other, set up a clothes rack, organize a library in two hours. I must admit I was tired after all these jobs, but we still visited many people who had their house ripped apart by Katrina. They seemed like normal people who hadn't lost their homes and lived in a trailer for a year. I wish I had the strength and courage that every one of them possessed in them.

By the end of this trip I was a new person with new perspectives. I use to read articles about Katrina and think that's horrible for a second, and then I would flip the page. Now when I get the chance to see anything about Katrina, millions of memories flow to my head, and I remember the laughter, the devastation, the love, and the strength of this town. I could never sum my trip up into one and half page paper, but I can say that this trip left me with memories that will last a lifetime.

Atlanta, GA
October 2006

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