Friday, August 12, 2011

B'nai Israel service trip to Alabama: The youth perspective

Today's blog entry from our social action volunteers in Alabama is written by our three teen participants, Ari Matz, Brittany O'Connell, and Emma Pearlstone
Beginning to take down and recycle cinder blocks, one by one
Hello from the jew crew in Cordova, Alabama! Helping in the relief efforts continues to be an exciting adventure for all of us. Being the energetic youth of our group, Ari, Emma, and Brittany were able to help. We spent today tediously chiseling cinder blocks off a partially demolished garage. In order to recycle the blocks for another house, we had to individually remove all of the cement from the edges of the blocks. On prior days of working we were in the midst of cleaning and organizing the equipment in the house when we stumbled upon some bullets, a few of which were loaded and also a bunch of casings. Emma wanted to take them home with her to Connecticut, but since she was taking only carry on and no one would carry it for her, she and the explosives were forced part ways.
Later that day a kind man came to the Cordova church to donate 75 watermelons from his farm, since we take our time eating lunch we were there to help volunteer unloading these watermelons. While unloading Emma soon became distracted once again and was found in the midst of playing with a small grey kitten she had found! The kitten was a stray, was very hungry, and wanted love. Happily Emma was there to supply it! Resulting in instead of carrying watermelons she played with her new cat, named Watermelon.
Brittany and the Watermelons
Emma and Watermelon
On our way home from a long day’s work, we listened to our complimentary Sirius Radio. In our quest to find the perfect station, we came across Gospel Music. Stunned by its presence, we immediately broke down into laughter and song. We soon realized the role of religion in Southern society. 
Chuy's Mexican Restaurant, with blessings for Protestants, Catholics, and Jews on the silverware wrapper -
an indication of the role of faith in Birmingham, AL
One of the greatest parts of this trip was the van rented from Alamo. We had rented a new navy blue Town & Country, and it was “Like driving a boat”. This giant car was also capable of the amazing powers of the stow and go, allowing the passengers to fold down all seats resulting in a giant flat space that we had come to dedicate for loading materials, taking naps, and having dance parties. When “stowed and go-ed” the passengers had to ride in an alternative vehicle resulting in us riding in the hitched trailer full of cinder blocks. 
Transporting the bricks... and a few teens too
At the end of the day we were able to gain a new perspective on the people around us, and the good grace that has fallen upon us in our own lives. By the end of the week we managed to help brighten a victim’s outlook, and build many great memories along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment