Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 7:

playground

March 18, 2016

Today was our last work day of the trip before we left. We worked with the Alabama group today, for the first time all week. We stopped by the Habitat for Humanity office for a tour first thing. A couple of the guys who had been on this trip before had actually helped roof the place a few years earlier. They were so proud of their work.

We spent the day at a park repainting fences, benches, bathrooms, and playground. With Auburn, Alabama, and the local high school Habitat for Humanity group we were able to get a lot done very fast. We took a short break halfway through to hike in the creek below. It was beautiful with the little waterfalls and rock formations, like fairies lived there.

It was satisfying to stand back and see all the fresh paint and cleanliness of the park. Our group went to stop for milkshakes on the way back.

For dinner we went back to a community church, where we also played pool and ping pong. We had to say goodbye to Momma T, who had been all our coordinator throughout the week.

We spent our last night at the drive-in movie theater!! We saw a double feature of The Revenant and Deadpool. And got popcorn of course! Alabama met us there and somehow those 18 students watched it from 2 vans.

We returned around midnight, cleaned and said our goodbyes. It was a wonderful trip, where we met some amazing people and new friends. This was my first mission trip, and I loved being able to step outside myself to do good, and experience the how wonderful that feeling is.

 

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 7:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 6:

concernMarch 17, 2016

On St. Pats Day we went to the Christian Center for Concern to help them out with a few projects. We painted and cleaned shelves, laminated, dusted, and organized. The center was much like a Goodwill, but run by volunteers from a local church.

We managed to find a few books and things we wanted to take home, which were generously given to us!

We left for lunch at the community center, and when we came back we organized canned and boxed food for a new pantry section of the store. So many green beans.

We went from there to the local elementary school to help the kids with their homework and play with them outside. I played basketball with some of the boys, and by the end we had taught them a little about team spirit and passing the ball. It was a blast.

We had dinner back at camp and told a few scary storied over fried chicken and mashed potatoes. We quickly finished our bench, and wrote “warm and fuzzy” letters for each other to open when we returned.

 

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 6:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 5:

March 16, 2016

Today was our frrreeee dayyyy!!!

We woke up a little late and then drove to Dismal’s Canyon about an hour away. We took several flights of stairs to get into the low system of caves and creeks. There were a few manmade bridges and stepping stones, but the park was wild and beautiful. Taylor and Matt led us (tried to) but we ended up going way off the map. Takkia was not a fan of hiking and after her shoe got swallowed by a mud pit she turned back right away! As we heard she fell a few more times on the way back. She was so good-spirited about it. The rest of us climbed some massive boulders and wandered under waterfalls.

When we finally found our way back, we ate our packed lunch of sandwiches while sunbathing and looking at the view.

When we got back from our free day, we napped or hammocked and hung out with good conversations.

We went to dinner at a small community church that served us these massive baked potatoes and all kinds of dessert. Super satisfying. Then we played dodgeball with the high school youth group.

We painted our beautiful Auburn themed bench when we returned. It is for a charity auction at the end of the week, and I’d like to think it’d go for a bit.

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 5:

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 4:

tankMarch 15, 2016

Today we volunteered at a local park to clean it up after flood damage. We spent the morning painting the brick walls in 3 bathrooms white, while receiving plenty of free candy and soda from the snack bar. We even found a tank “prop” in the middle of the park.

In the afternoon we cleaned up a couple baseball fields and power-washed the dugouts. We were done early, and it felt good to see what we had done for the community.

When we got back we went out to dinner at the amazing Aroma’s cafe! I learned scalloped potatoes are amazing, and that we can clean up pretty good.

A few of us sat and talked on the trampoline when we got back. I think we had the best conversations of the trip. And it was awesome to feel so young again!

Habitat for Humanity (Guin, AL) Day 4:

ASB Dominican Republic Trip Day 6

Hola Auburn familia!

Today was so much fun because we got to visit 27 Waterfalls and spend our day there! We woke up a bit earlier this morning so we could eat breakfast and be on the bus by 8 since it’s a 3 hour drive to the waterfalls. It was awesome because some of the girls from the orphanage actually got to join us on our trip!

Once we got to the waterfalls we hiked for about an hour or so and it was burning hot outside. No worries though, we had on plenty of sunscreen! After hiking, we finally made it to the first waterfall and at first we were all freezing, but slowly got used to it. Right from the start, we climbed up the rock and made our first jump. Some of us were afraid of heights and so this whole day took a lot of courage but everyone put on their brave faces and made the jump.

Ya know, sometimes in life you’ve just got to let everything go and jump.

And that’s what we did today. From one waterfall to the next, we embraced our last day together. All the lessons we’ve learned from this week, all the perspectives we have gained, all the friendships we’ve formed, all the lives we’ve impacted, and all the lives that have impacted us- we took it all in and made today something meaningful. It was an exhilarating, exciting, and a day full of laughter and kindness with the group that has gone from strangers to friends and now even family. We will never forget this trip, and the waterfalls was the perfect way to end this chapter in our journey.

We’ll be heading to the airport tomorrow and should be home early Sunday morning, but until then, this is the final blog post of an oh so wonderful and perfect spring break,

Love always,

Your faves<3

ASB Dominican Republic Trip Day 6

Dominican Republic Day 4 & 5

Hola amigos!

I don’t even know where to begin. These last two days have been absolutely incredible- a little warning that it’s a bit of a longer post.

On day 4, we got to work on an Auburn tradition that ASB started here in the D.R. Every year our group works on fixing up a local park and preserving its beauty. We got out there early morning and embraced the heat, dug out weeds to fix the garden, threw out the trash, and painted a bright yellow on the walls- end result is seriously stunning. This project meant a lot for us because it brought together this sense of community, I mean the kids who lived in this neighborhood and their parents even just started to grab a paintbrush and paint with us! It was a lot of hard work, but so rewarding to see the difference we got to make just from this simple act. Also- we can’t get over how friendly and loving everyone here is, it just constantly continues to amaze us.

Following the park, we had lunch and then headed to Santa Domingo (the capital of the D.R! side note- we’ve been saying “the capital” instead of the name of the city all week and every single one of us kept thinking we were a part of the hunger games or something). The first thing we did was try a bunch of different chocolates in a little store and lemme tell ya- that was an experience like no other. We tried 100% chocolate which is the most bitter thing and seeing everyone’s faces and their reactions to it was hilarious. After that we walked around a bit and there was a giant swarm of pigeons. The brave ones (everyone except Tristan, Madison S. and Shaby) walked straight up to the birds, opened up their arms, and let them fly onto them. We have some pretty funny pictures of that to show y’all when we get home. Correction- really funny. And then we went to see a beautiful historic church older than any building in the U.S. so that was really cool to see for all of us. We got to shop around a bit too and bought some souvenirs while putting our bargaining skills to use (900 pesos? oh no way, I’ll do 300 max).

After that we headed to dinner at a Chinese restaurant and ate family style! It was Kat’s first time ever eating Chinese food, shoutout to her for being so brave, even with that sesame “chicken” and Heather’s song (parents it’s an inside joke, sorry). But seriously, such good food. And then we went to a French pastry shop, yum. Just so much yum.

We ended night 4 with a game of fishbowl and bonding with our group. It was so much fun but it was also bittersweet at it was Jody and Perla (our awesome Appleseed hosts) last nights in the Dominican with us.

Okay now, day 5.

We started off the morning by finishing up with the park and goodness it’s stunning now. Then we drove over to the orphanage to hang out with the bread of life kiddos again. They were just a bundle of joy, as usual, but today in particular. One little girl, Alejandra, started playing a hand game with Anna and Sydney but slowly more and more girls joined in and by the end it was almost all of us playing. We were laughing so much and really loved the games they were teaching us how to play, it felt like friendships with these girls were just getting stronger and stronger, so it was a tough moment when we had to say goodbye for a while.

After the bread of life and some lunch at home, we headed to the refugee center to do the wellness clinic we were unable to do a couple of days ago. This was such a rewarding experience. We had people from all of the camp lined up so that we could help them with their illnesses and boy was there a line. I think that this especially appealed to our pre-med students and was an eye opening opportunity.

Following that, we went back to the orphanage to pick up the girls and take them out to ice cream! Those girls are so genuine and sweet, and although we had so much fun with them, it was really hard to say goodbye. They impacted our lives much more than they’ll ever know.

And then we went home, ate some dinner, and called it a night after reflecting about our day.

Sad to see how close we are to the end of this trip, but as always, loving the changes it’s making on our hearts in just a short amount of time,

And that’s a wrap for day 4 & 5,

War eagle!

Dominican Republic Day 4 & 5

Hilton Head Trip Update (Days 1-4)

Spring Break 2016 is hopping here at Hilton Head!  #boldfacedlie #forrealthough

The Hilton Head Island trip has been having so much fun helping overcome hunger and poverty in the South Carolina Lowcountry we’re just now getting around to posting!

Our trip so far has been on point.  On Day 1 our group of seven traveled more than 300 miles to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Along the way, we found out Rachel loves the movie Transformers: Age of  Ultron (Note: not a real movie), traveled over imaginary bridges onto the island and saw Katie learn how to pull all the way into parking spots in the comically overlong  Ford Flex.  We are staying in the gym at St. Andrew’s By the Sea Methodist Church, which as it turns out is quite the happening place.  After a dramatic Publix shopping trip that saw the occurrence of the Great Pop-Tarts Incident of 2K16 and the purchasing of too many tacos to count, we were finally set to begin our week.

Day 2 was our sightseeing day, and man, oh man did we see some sights!  A kayaking trip was the first item on our agenda.  Our knowledgeable tour guide, who quickly became Marion’s favorite person on the trip, told us all about the multi-million-dollar homes along the bay, the celebrities who vacation to the island–we’re still on the lookout for Will Smith and Brooke Shields–and the ruthless nature of shark/dolphin fights.  Rachel and Taylor (aka Zig and Zag, to our guide) get the award for most compatible kayaking duo!  After completing our trek,  we spent some time relaxing on Coligny Beach just down the road from our host church.  Unfortunately, the wind and overcast weather drove us off the beach earlier than expected.  Later, Taylor accidentally ordered a gargantuan ice cream cone, and we went to a St. Patrick’s Day parade where Sam got the green beads he’d literally been begging for.  As per beachgoing tradition, we ended the day with a trip to Tanger Outlets.  Our group addiction to Bananagrams began on Sunday night, and we haven’t stopped playing it (or Wordfeud) since.

By this point, our group had basically become experts on all things related to island culture, so it was time to begin giving back.  On Days 3 and 4 we finally began volunteering with Bluffton Self-Help.  On the first day, the group, with the notable exception of Adam’s “exclusive” invite to a volunteer brownie break, unloaded, sorted and hung clothes for the area’s men, women and children in need of assistance.  We also set up Easter basket materials, and Joel showed us how well he could rock a flower crown. To top off our first day we climbed the steps of the Harbour Town Lighthouse.

Today we worked in food distribution and supplied about 75 people each with up to 20 pounds of food for the week.  We were all reminded of how the issue of food insecurity affects more people than we realize and have loved getting the chance to meet our fellow volunteers.

Stay tuned to our blog to find out answers to our burning questions: Can someone really eat two steaks and dessert in one sitting?  Is our drive to the volunteer site longer than the drive home from the site?  Is Taco Bell worth your time?  Are T-shirts from The Salty Dog Outlet cheaper than the ones from the actual restaurant?  Who will be the next President of the United States?  IS HILTON HEAD REALLY EVEN AN ISLAND???  Check back later to find out.

Let’s go crazy…let’s go to CVS!

Do good and have fun,

The Best ASB Hunger and Poverty Group Since Sliced Bread

Hilton Head Trip Update (Days 1-4)