Hi from Elisabeth
This is the week of learning to be sempre gumby - as they say in the navy - really flexible!
I have the privilege of working alongside your amazing youth as we lead Kid's Club each afternoon. Watching our PCMK youth engage with the children is simply amazing. I had no idea that they would connect to them so easily and with so much energy and love - what an inspiration! While there is much chaos and craziness here - teaching us ultimate flexibility - our youth show maturity that is simply beyond their years and they are easy to live with and wonderful to work alongside.
Loving this week - loving our youth. So glad I came along on my 9th mission trip even though the 8th was supposed to be the last!
Hi from Lindsay!
Today I worked on painting a trailer and we had to drive up and down multiple, steep mountains to get there. After starting that job, we left and went back to the school to do Kids Club. We all made visors and played jump rope and limbo with the kids.
After blowing bubbles with two adorable girls, I retreated back to my room to find out that I had received a wonderful letter written by the girl I had met yesterday when I was working on a roof. The wonderful letter was by far the best experience so far this week. After getting the letter, I went to eat dinner and a lady from another group approached me to say that the little girl who sent the letter had been talking about all of us the whole day! I was so happy to see that we had really established a connection with a girl who we had just met. We got to learn so much about her: how she played softball and was a swimmer, her little sister Brooke, and that she had an enormous doll house that she loved that was in her living room.
This trip has really opened my eyes to how relationships can not only impact others, but also ourselves. I'm so excited to see what the rest of the week has in store!
Hello from Alexa =D
These past days have been a really great experience and learning opportunity. From driving around and looking at the scenery and talking to all the wonderful people we get to meet, you really get a feel for the community and become deeply attached to McDowell.
I have to say, one of my favorite experiences has been Kids Club. I formed a great friendship with an adorable 7 year old, Keniya. We worked on our crafts together and helped with the games and organizing/establishing the rules. On the second day of Kids Club she introduced me to Tatie who has an adorable smile and a simple way of telling you what she wants. I've had the great opportunity to form bonds with these wonderful kids - as I spent the entire Kids Club helping out with them. Unfortunately, each person in the group only has 2 days of Kids Club and today was my last.
I'm going to miss Keniya and Tatie a lot, but I'm happy to have met such wonderful kids. I can't wait to meet even more amazing people!
Hey, this is Dylan Tai,
and today was our second-to-last day of working part of this mission trip- it's really weird to think so though. Time flies by so fast, well at least when you look back on it and not in the moment. I'm not going to be that one guy that says "I don't want to leave" because I honestly do miss having cell phone signal, video games, not having to wear slippers before walking into my shower, my friends, having actual blister medicine instead of pouring salt on it (that REALLY hurts, by the way), etc.
Although, the people here I've met really did change my view on life as a whole and made me view cultures differently. It's amazing how one person's story, one person's testimony, can change so many peoples' philosophies. Not only that, but some people that came to West Virginia with me transformed from being regular people to people with amazing talents. I'm excited to come back home and finally sleep in my room without 30 other people, though I will always remember the people I met and the lessons I learned here. I won't ever forget the people that live here: no matter how small that person may be.
Whether it was the little six year-old Bruce/Michael (they're the same person; his real name was Michael and he liked being called Bruce) who was way to excited all of the time or the elderly woman Agnes who was always smiling with one of the most depressing stories I have ever heard, I will remember these people like they were my brothers and sisters.
Let's go out with a bang tomorrow, I'm off to pour some more salt on my lips :(.
Hello, this is Graham Blair.
This trip has been very humbling for me, as I see different people of West Virginia and their lifestyles. When I see the care that these people give, when they are so needy themselves, it makes me feel guilty for being so fortunate, and encourages me to aid others as a sort-of “duty to humanity” for the remainder of my life. I have learned to live like them, drinking dirty water and eating with the same dirty mess kit every meal. I have so much admiration for Agnes, who raised 13 children, many of which she still feeds (2 are paralyzed), and feeds an alcoholic, a drug addict as well. We helped build her a floor for her kitchen, and she was so kind, feeding us breakfast and giving us water whenever needed.
We also helped paint a trailer, clean up a fire pit, and paint many tables. Tammy, for whom we constructed the side wall of her house, is also so influential, as she takes care of about 100 animals, including 11 dogs, 2 cats, a weasel, innumerable chickens and roosters, a ferret, and 4 horses.
At kids club, I met and remember the names of about 10 kids, of whom Nazir and Shikira are the most memorable. These very rambunctious siblings remember my name and ask for me now, as I have played with them for four days. All of these things together have made these past four days an unforgettable experience, and a great time with my friends.
Greetings Everyone. It's Anthony.
Coming to the end of our trip, I have learned a lot about this community. It has humbled me to know how much we have compared to these people. I have enjoyed helping various people and getting to know the residents. Specifically, Ms. Agnes' generosity and compassion showed. All the little things that she did for us such as make us sandwiches and have a hot breakfast of biscuits and gravy waiting for us made us love and respect her even more.
I couldn't get over the smile on her face when we finished the floor and her disappointment when we finally had to leave. Our building of the floor was a good relief from the burdens of her daily schedule. I know she will continue to be generous and keep on altruistically feeding her neighbors. I won't forget this trip and how it opened my eyes to how the world really is.
I will learn to appreciate what I have significantly more when I return home.
Hi everyone! It’s Beverly and Alexandra.
The mission trip has brought up many new experiences. For example, today the moment we stepped out of the van to the worksite, we were surprised to see a horse peeing. It was rather startling and disgusting. After this traumatizing event, torrential downpour ensued. Nonetheless, we persevered and installed the siding to Tammy’s house.
However, the difficulties did not stop there. On the ride back, Graham Blair really had to pee. On the roadside, he hopped out of the van and found relief in the “Kentucky Wild.” We were all jealous Graham Blair made his “bladder gladder” in KENTUCKY!
As a side note, at Kids Club (although our group did not assist in Kids Club today, we heard stories), a baby peed on Bailey. She reacted very calmly, making us all very proud!
After this day with an underlying theme of pee, we can still say that we had a great time and appreciate the opportunity we have had here all week! (Graham Blair and Bailey Foard approve of this message.)