By: Meg Lackman
Now that my second Mississippi trip is coming to and end and I am going to graduate in May, it is sad to think that I may never come back to Lucedale, Mississippi…
Friday was our last work day. We finished our pergola, finished the mural, built some more walls and even started a rehab project. For a group of 22 people, we sure get a lot of projects done. Every time we finished a project, we were all looking fore more work to do. We are such a hard working team and never turned down a project. If we were asked to do something, we would do it without question.
All the memories that I have made here In the past two years is like something so different and something that I can not explain. Coming on this mission trip is different than going to a Habitat spring break trip. While on this trip I have gotten to know 21 different people and grown so close to them. In comparison to my trip from last year, I feel that I have grown with this group so much more than any other group I have spent time with on a trip.
Bonding with this group started the morning we met at school to get on the bus to head off to the airport. Through the week not only working together brought us closer together but, our reflections at the end of the day let us open up in many ways most of us never would to anyone. Letting someone know your deepest, darkest secrets is one of the scariest things that someone can do. This means you must have trust in the other person or in our case a group of people. I know that I can go to anyone in this group with a problem or just to vent and they will be there for me.
Leaving these people is going to be one of the hardest things ever. Today we had to say goodbye to the Habitat Re-store and the warehouse, along with the many workers we grew close to.
We definitely left our mark in Mississippi this year. Peter Pan once said, “Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.” So this is not goodbye, it’s only “see you later.”
By: Logan Cook
Day Three was one of the most productive work days so far this week and everybody can attest to that. Everybody got to work right away. I started off building wall frames with Maria, Sam and Rebecca. This was such a rough part to start the day. Sam and I were together and started to build the basic components of the wall. Let’s just say this was a very frustrating start. We kept trying to balance the wood pieces and trying to nail them at the same time. The wood kept splitting and the pieces were not lining up evenly. We finally got the drive to forget about the problems we were facing when the constructing coordinator built the same piece we were working on faster than we did. We stepped up and the errors started going away.
The next step was building the next step of the walls. We came back together as a group, “aka the Wall Squad.” We definitely bonded together and grew closer while nailing and putting the pieces together. We all shared the mutual dislike of the nails. We just wanted them to get in cleanly. Some would bend and we would just get so frustrated. It was alright because it just fueled the fire for us getting the work done. When the work was completed, we all left tired (you know that’s a good day of work), closer relationships, and a hatred for nails.
Another highlight of the day was during lunch. I was sitting next to Eli, a former Habitat worker who came back this week because he knew we (the SHU group) were coming. He handed me a pin and said “Happy Belated Birthday.” I was definitely surprised by this and it really was a sentimental moment. This is someone I just met and have definitely developed a relationship with. It was such a simplistic thing but it will be something I will always remember.
We ended the very productive day with a very powerful reflection. As a group we discussed our strongest and weakest virtues among hope, faith, courage, patience, and love. This was definitely an emotional moment. People could totally let down their guard down and tell stories that normally they wouldn’t tell other people about. This truly shows how close of a family we are. Everybody cares and loves each other. A perfect example is that I talked about about my grandfather. I knew it would I would be teary-eyed but I already was from others’ stories. The tears definitely came but I had the Mississippi family behind me. I knew the first person to come up to comfort me after would be Meg. Meg and I have grown closer since the first day. We are always cracking jokes and having a great time. Being a senior she also teaches me too. It’s great to see someone you barely knew to become a close person to you.
WE ARE FAMILY.
By: Meg Lackman
Today there was so much to do. It was definitely a day of learning gratitude. We walked into the warehouse and there were already jobs for the crew to be done. We painted a wall that was about 150 feet wide, it took only four of us to complete it by lunch time. Along with that we painted the other half of the re-store floor, started working on the house by putting in doors, cabinets, and trim.
There were two moments in the day that stuck out to me with such a busy schedule. The first moment happened when we went for lunch at Pizza Hut. We were having such a great time enjoying the company of the workers along with our group we were laughing and having such a great break from all of our work. Miss Sue went to go pay for our food and was told by the workers that a father and son had already payed for our bill because of all the great work that Habitat does. All of our faces dropped and we were truly grateful. We realized that our work truly did not go unnoticed.
For the second half of the day Elias and Cory and I took on the project of creating a pergola for the middle of the re-store. We came across a few challenges one being cutting some of the wood we use too short more than once. This put us into a pickle, but we eventually figured out what we needed to do.
Later the second moment happened I took on the role as the teacher and taught some of the freshman how to measure,mark, and cut wood. This was definitely the high of my day. I could clearly remember my fist habitat trip where the upperclassmen taught me a shy little freshman the same exact skills. I realized that I was now the upperclassmen that everyone looked up to. Rebecca, Logan and myself built a bookcase in about an hour. This was just the cherry on the top to the ending of my day.
Tomorrow we are going to be making five more bookcases and can teach the others how to do it as well. Bonding and working with the team is just a minor part of what these trips are about. Working with so many different people throughout the day is definitely a way of bonding and becoming a family by the end of the week.
By: Leah Arsenault
Day 2 came and went so quickly and it was such a successful start to keep us all motivated. We did it all from painting doors and door frames to painting floors, putting on hinges, using awesome tools that I have never tried before including a simple hammer and nail, and even climbing roofs! I have loved every minute of it I and and so happy I decided to get involved, who knew making a mess with paint and new friends could be so fun!?
With this being my first trip, I have learned quite a bit in just two days. First, I have learned that you can become close with a group of new people instantly. Second, I have learned that people come from all walks of life, and I have seen how both heart and mind must work as one, like a quote stated that we heard tonight. Having heart matters, and everyone here in Mississippi definitely puts heart into everything they do, including their home cooked meals!
After a bumpy but safe arrival in our host community of Lucedale, Mississippi, we had a great dinner filled with laughter and getting to know our neighbors in Lucedale, who prepared an amazing Southern buffet for us. After dinner, we had our first reflection, where everyone in the group shared their reasons for participating in this program by decorating a piece of a puzzle. It’s clear that while we all have our own journeys that brought us here, we all have a lot to learn and experience this week in Lucedale.
We’re so pumped for our first work day with our Habitat partners, and can’t wait to get started!