By Lauren Smith and Marissa Morrissette
President and Vice President of Reality Check, respectively
We are closing in on the end of our trip, and it is sad that we only have a couple days left. The group has really bonded together and our friendships will continue to grow for years to come. As usual, our small groups are separated to different work sites. Two groups went to work on Pop’s family’s house. He is the cook for the United Saints and has made us great meals all week! The groups worked on cutting and putting up siding for the house as well as painting the entire front porch. The other two groups went to the Shalom Zone, a house across the street from United Saints. The students here worked on painting the house and finishing up the morals that the other group had worked on the previous day.
The groups were treated to an amazing lunch today! The groups working at Pop’s place went to Parkway Bakery & Tavern, which is where the Po-Boy was created. Po-Boy is a French bread sandwich dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise with all different kinds of meats. The other groups got their Po-Boys brought to them at their work site. They were delicious!
Tonight we were lucky enough to be treated to free NBA tickets to see the New Orleans Pelicans play at the downtown arena. The United Saint’s chef, Pop, was nice enough to get tickets for all of the volunteers staying that week. We were separated into some different groups for seating but all enjoyed dancing in our seats, the New Orleans basketball game food specials, and just a good basketball game. We all really got into the game and were disappointed when New Orleans lost to Memphis with little time left; it was a very close game. When the game was over, we headed back to United Saints for our evening reflection. We ended up doing reflection outside of our apartments due to the church being closed for the night. It was a little chilly for outside but we gathered around in a circle and made the best of it. Lauren led reflection tonight and focused it on the “aha moments” that tend to happen on trips like this. Everyone did some critical thinking about what volunteering really means and how important it is to put yourself in another person’s shoes. Some students expressed how talking to some of the home owners in New Orleans really was an eye-opening experience and made them love what they were doing even more. To finish off the reflection everyone signed a Mardi Gras mask to represent our overall trip together and overall experiences that will never be forgotten. The mask will be on display in the Smith Chapel on campus along with all of the other symbolic items from previous ASB trips. Tonight was an early night in so everyone would be well rested for our last day of work. The trip has gone by way too fast, but all know we have to make the absolute best of tomorrow.
~ Lauren and Marissa