Friday, March 8, 2013

Mid-Week Update

Wednesday, March 6

Hey everyone, this is Paton, one of the actors on the team this year. I'm here to write an update about what turned out to be my most challenging day on the trip.

Wednesday was tricky. It was our second day on the Habitat site and our third day at the YMCA. The weather was pretty cold early on and we were all sore from hammering thousands of nails the day before; needless to say, all I wanted to do was nap in the van. Alas, houses do not build themselves, so out we went, coffee in our bellies, at 7:45am.

I was hoping that I'd be on the roof, being that I had the pleasure of lifting the trusses over my head while on a 15 foot ladder the day before. I have a great love for heights, as my teammates have discovered, so that hope was getting me through the van ride. However, another house was in need of painting today, so over half of our team was pulled to that site to work instead. I tried holding my ground, but they needed one more person, so I ended up going there at first. It turned out to be fun, of course: everyone singing Mumford and Sons and Beyonce while painting a ceiling goes very well together.

Lunch time came and we were reunited with our other teammates. With jealous eyes I looked at Enrique and Jacob hanging from the trusses as I ate my (fantastic) homemade turkey and cheddar on white. But I have good news! I was allowed to say with the other team and get harnessed to the rooftop!!! VICTORY. This day was looking up... literally. We raised the roof... literally. Okay, I'll stop.

3:40pm rolled around so we packed into the vans again and headed over to the Y. I thought I was tired before, but by now I was exhausted. Despite my low energy, I was really looking forward to working with my students with Braxton and Lorrin, the other two members of my teaching team. Our first day was rough, but our second seemed to go a bit better. Our 6th graders had a LOT of energy and didn't always know what to do with it. We seemed to have a good system down by this point, so I was excited to do our new activities we had planned.

After the group games with all the students in the cafeteria we headed up to our classroom and, well, let me put it this way, nothing went according to plan. Maybe it was because it was the middle of the week for the students, maybe everyone was tired, maybe everyone was frustrated, I don't know... But the energy was so chaotic Braxton, Lorrin, and I really found ourselves having to buckle down and try to figure out what would work best for everyone. By the end of the hour and 15 minute class, I didn't know if I'd make it to the van without some caffeine.

It is so interesting to me how I ended up getting to know the kids, really. It wasn't so much the games we'd play, which is what I expected, but it was in the small moments shared when I had to take someone to the bathroom, or when one of my students stayed after class to help me put the chairs back in order. There were so many little moments that gave me hope that what we're doing here does matter, and does make an impact. It feels like we're a tornado blowing through because of how short of a time we have there and that we don't really know what they'll remember. We just hope they will.

Back home, finally, we were treated to an amazing home cooked Mediterranean themed night by our fellow teammates. But oh, we didn't stop there. After cleaning up after dinner, we went on a much needed trip to Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter for some beignets and cafe au lait. Powdered sugar for the win.

Overall, today was a day full of surprises, heights, yelling, and discovery. Sabrina said something that really stuck with me: "we are planting seeds." Which we are, all week long, and we also need to have patience for their growth.

And I think I'm getting there.


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