I feel like I’ve got a million things to say; however, my brain is failing to organize these ideas to actually put something together. I actually DID have majority of my blog written; however, Briar asked to use the computer for a second (in the middle of my blog writing) and I did not save my written work. EPIC FAIL. The computer froze and I lost everything I had written. So, here I am again trying to put together what I previously had.

Anyways, this trip has been an emotional trip. I think I’ve cried every other day; I’m not one to cry in front of people either. I’ve worked with a variety of individuals and groups such as the St. Bernard Project, The Green Project, The Magnolia School, Habitat for Humanity, and the Food Co-op. I was a little unsure as to why we were working with groups outside of the St. Bernard Project as I didn’t understand how this contributed to Katrina. However, I realized that understanding the dynamic of the community would really better my role in giving back to those who were still suffering from the affects of this tragic event.

I feel like this trip is a movie and my group and I are the leading roles. In just the past two weeks, I’ve come across some of the most amazing people. Having them share their stories with me has been life-changing.

Last Thursday, my group and I traveled to Stephensville to partake in sandbagging. This was a very interesting experience as we were able to work with a few inmates. I had a burning desire to talk to them and just hear their story. Not particularly ‘what they were in for’, but rather who they were as individuals. I was unsure of how to do this because there seemed to be a barrier at first; Ryerson students vs. inmates. As the day progress, the talking began and I began to feel comfortable in this situation. They’re regular individuals just like my classmates and I. It’s amazing how in times of potential flooding or disaster, the community can come together (no matter who you are) and work together.

People are fascinating and deserve to have their story heard.

That weekend a couple from our group traveled to Alabama to see the Civil Rights museum. This was an overwhelming trip and I’ll admit, tears were shed. I send out a message to all of those reading this about how important it is to know our history and where we came from.

As a child, I grew up on Norman Rockwell paintings and artwork. One painting that was continuously in and out of my memory was:

‘The Problem We All Live With’ by Norman Rockwell.

It’s crazy how I completely disregarded the meaning of this painting all throughout my life and the only time when it the meaning is dead clear is when I take a trip to Alabama. This painting holds a lot more meaning for me now and is almost as a reminder as what those fought for. Those of the past are truly heroes.

I’ve got two more sleeps to go and all I want to do is stay longer.  This week has flown by way too fast. I love you NOLA group; I will never forget any of you.  You all are amazing and have become my family for the past two weeks. We’ve all gotten each other a little sick, but it’s amazing how we’ve really been attentive to each others needs. Thanks for bringing dinner back yesterday guys :). It would have sucked missing food from ‘The Joint”. I love you all so much and I’ll say it again, will never forget you. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you. It’s so great that we’ve experienced this together.

You all are truly ‘fascinating’ people.

…On a side note, I’ve been keeping a list; here’s a list of my favourites:

YOU KNOW YOU’RE COOL WHEN…

1) You go off-roading with your teacher during a sandbagging expedition.
2) You can call your teacher ‘Uncle Pascy’
3) You sing Mama Mia with your teacher while using sunscreen bottles as microphones
4) Your teacher calls you ‘Baby Girl’ or ‘Y’all’ in a southern drawl
5) You go jet-skiing on the Gulf of Mexico with your teacher

Shannon Strelioff

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