Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Day 4: A New Day, A New Hope

Today starts the 4th day here in New Orleans and the 3rd day of work. As usual, it started with a reflection led by myself (Jonathan) and Mike McDonald. We focused especially on the 4 words, "Silence, Awareness, Understanding, and Community," which helped us keep a clear and positive attitude about the work we've completed and the work we're about to undertake.

Today's task focused on a couple, Theresa and Saul, who gave us the opportunity to work in their house through a not-for-profit organization called Hope House. Matt Russo introduced us to Brother Don, who is the director of Hope House. Through this connection, we were fortunate enough to be welcomed into their home and now call them our friends. It was a day of dust, dirt, and a fish that has survived since late August. I personally wanted to name him Geppeddo, while other people threw out the options Survivor and Nemo. Whichever. Take your pick Regardless, our physically demanding work included clearing out the entire house, pulling up carpet, and ripping down ceilings that were damaged by the massive amounts of rain that fell during Katrina. Of course all this took place on the hottest day of the week but I'm not complaining. It was worth the look on Theresa and Saul's faces as we packed up to leave. They were so grateful a group of young, committed citizens cared enough to travel from Philadelphia and help become a part of their life.

Just like some previous days' work, it became apparent to me (and the rest of the team) that it truly only takes one spark to create something positive. We realize we're one step in a huge process that focuses on the same 4 words we reflected on this morning: Silence, Awareness, Understanding, Community. From the knowledge we've gained and the education we'll soon be able to provide, our work is the middle-ground some are not fortunate enough to partake in. With this in mind, we may only be here for one more day of work, but our actions, new friendships, and readiness to empower others is truly an indication of what we're called to do as "men and women with and for others."

God bless as we continue our journey...


At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Jim Finore said...

To the New Orleans Team:

I was fooling around on the SJU website and stumbled across this blog. I just wanted to extend my appreciation for all of you and for what you are doing. It truly is an incredible feat, but I have no doubt that this experience will somehow make a positive impact on each of you. Just reading through the posts on this site, has certainly made me feel extremely appreciative for what I have and for what I am able to partake in each day. Good luck with the rest of your trip – you all make Saint Joseph's proud!

With Pride in SJU,
Jim Finore


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