March 6, 2009

Emotionally overwhelmed may be the best term for my current status. I think everyone was in a bit of denial this morning as we were working that it was our last day in Waverly. We finished some projects, collected some trash and had a delicious southern breakfast – I swear I have gained 10 pounds since coming here. This evening was what has left me in such a state however. Boston College went home this afternoon so only the two Holy Cross groups were left but we were by no means lonely, we had about 20 kids to keep us company!

On Fridays the church has all the kids in the community come for games, singing and just hanging out.Tonight, since it was our last night, was special so there were other members of the community there as well and we all went into the Church to be together. The evening started with a slide show made by two of our group members which incorporated a rousing rendition of “Lean on Me” which had everyone swaying and singing. After a short interlude of “Old McDonald”, led by our own Zach Lavender, Beth (Waverly B’s leader) and I presented Pastor Drew and Brenda a book of memories and two of our spiffy Appalachia shirts. It was really nice because lots of group members got up to speak about their experience and how wonderful Waverly had been to us. Members of the Church family in Waverly spoke too and their thanks and love were truly moving. The most wonderful show of love and faith came from the Children’s choir who sang us a song along with other members of the community. The lyrics to the chorus were “I pray for you, you pray for me, I love you-I need you to survive” and though it is obviously a prayer to God, the adults singing, the people we had gotten to know so well over the past week, looked straight at us and reached out their arms to us. It was so overwhelming and as I looked around at my peers, the children singing and people like Jay, Pastor Drew, Brenda and everyone who had been so wonderful to us during the week, I couldn’t help but cry. My sister will tell you, I don’t cry-EVER, but I was a mess for the first time in literally years. Luckily I was not alone, almost everyone had a tear in their eye (even the boys!) and when the song ended everyone just went around and hugged anyone and everyone in sight. I have never experienced something like that and don’t know if I ever will again. Our last reflection was about 3 hours long and ended with tears and hugs again and as I lie here, knowing I will only get about 2 hours of sleep before a 10 hour drive tomorrow, I truly couldn’t be happier to be here in this town at this time.

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