I have been planning for 31 days to write a reflection about this process, but I have something better to write about, so I’ll save that for my next post.
Today our kids gave up some of their spring break to help those in need. Our seniors took the morning shift working on houses in the 9th Ward with Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. Even though I wasn’t with that group, I rode out there to help transport all the kids. I’m glad I did. I was able to meet the organizers, hear a little about the organization, and see some of the work they’ve done so far. I’ve spoken with a few of the kids since they returned, and they really seemed to enjoy their experience.
The juniors had the morning to relax and explore a little bit, and then we headed over to the New Orleans Mission to meet Daniel Watts, the Outreach Coordinator. Our original project was with a different group, but that was canceled randomly and quickly. So, the trip planner managed to get this together for today. And, once again, I’m glad.
We talked with the kids–many of whom have particpated in this sort of thing before–about decorum while there. We really didn’t know what we were doing until we got there and met Daniel. He led us into the mission, which is currently under construction. It was hot. The kind of hot you can only understand if you’ve experierenced the south without air conditioning. Not a child complained. They sat patiently awaiting their instructions from our guide.
We recieved our mission: make sandwiches, pack them with drinks and snacks, and prepare to wheel them out to the community. After a little organzing, the kids got to work. They laughed, they joked, they smiled, and they were pretty productive.
We then loaded the bags into carts, and Daniel led us to a median on a semi-busy road where we handed out bags to the homeless, elderly, and disabled (or anyone who came by). Being an outreach program, Daniel prayed with the folks who came by, and spent some time sharing his testimony with our group.
This being an IB trip, our group is very diverse. Just with this group of 12, we had at least one Muslim, one Jew, and potentially other religions that I’m not sure about. But what I love about these kids is that when he wanted us all to pray, they held hands, stood in the cricle and bowed their heads with the rest of the group. On the way back, I said to two of the students on the way back, “thanks for being so cool about praying and his testimony.” Our Muslim student responded with,
I didn’t mind. I find it really interesting.
How awesome. How smart. If only all of us in the world could have that attitude; imagine how much happier the world would be. The other students agreed, and we had a fabulous conversation about how tolerant, curious, and compassionate this group of students is.
It’s been a long week, with its ups and downs, but I’m thankful for today and for the opportunity to see these kids be good humans and know that there is some hope for the future. 🙂