March 4 and 5, 2009

The past two days have been just how we wanted them…work filled! Here is an idea of the various jobs we’ve been doing and will be doing the rest of the week:
-Trash pick-up. Pretty self explanatory, we get to use trash picker-uppers and wear bright orange, FUN!

-Lawn work at Jay’s house and various houses in the area. A lot of us have done work cutting down branches, raking leaves, getting garbage (car parts, dolls, entire TV sets) out of woods around houses. All of this is done with the help of axes, machetes and some power saws…pent up aggression once again given an outlet.

-The burnt-out trailer. Holy Cross and Boston College have worked hard to completely demolish a trailer that was destroyed by fire. It was completely smashed to the ground in a matter of days!

Probably the most meaningful job has been all the work done at the gym. A few streets down from the Church is a two story building that serves as a gym for the community of Waverly. Pastor Drew told us the very sad story behind it; apparently years ago it was a place where lots of drugs and alcohol were sold and a few people actually were killed due to drug violence right outside of the building. Lily of the Valley eventually bought the building and shut it down before turning it into a gym. The gym is successful on so many levels. Firstly, I saw a man bench press 445 pounds, therefore it MUST be working! The guys from the area have actually won awards for their weight lifting and training in the gym, I certainly was impressed. Secondly, and most importantly, the gym has given men in the community something else to do besides drugs and is a positive place of comradary and hard work. It was very easy then to get up early and walk over there in the morning because we knew what we were fighting for. With each stroke of the paintbrush, hammering of a nail or swinging of a sledgehammer, we had a goal. We were definitely “swinging with a purpose” and everyone worked really hard to improve the gym that had already brought new life to the community of Waverly. All of the jobs we did, whether it was demolishing a building or cutting tile for a bathroom, were done with heart and with great effort because of the connections we made in the town and the genuine feelings of gratitude we had towards the community that was feeding and housing us for the week.

On a slightly lighter note, one of my group members made a rather dumb move and said during reflection “God must be looking out for us this trip, I mean, I can’t count the number of times I almost died or at least got seriously injured” to which everyone nodded seriously. Being the group leader and a generally motherly type person I nearly fainted and then insisted that everyone stay inside and not touch anymore machetes, axes or power saws. Obviously nobody, including me, took that advice seriously. God must have had an eye out for us this week considering our worst injury was a shallow cut from a rusty nail that resulted in a 5 and a half hour wait for a simple tetanus shot in the ER. It could have been worse!

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