The most peaceful noise on the planet — the light voices, the passing breeze, the chirp of what I thought to be crickets and found out to be little frogs outside the window. The cars pass by with the muffled noise of their engines. The pages of my journal flutter quickly as the wind forced them to do so. My face embraces the cool breeze, and I realize the complete state of content I am in.
This state was made possible by the mere fact that I look an opportunity. I took the opportunity to serve and to experience complete joy. As a student at Merrimack College, I have to amazing opportunity to choose to spend my spring break in a location of misfortune. My destination West Virginia.
Day 2: The first day of service. I had the opportunity to be able to work with elderly people today and clean their apartments. I met a multitude of people with enough stories to last me a lifetime. They all had their own history, their own stories, and their own very unique lives but they all had one thing in common: they were lonely. They were unable to ask for help regularly and now I was here to help. I was here to give them a hand in cleaning but more importantly an ear to listen and a mind to grow and respond to them. Many of them have no family and little interaction with people besides the occasional hello in the elevator. They need our human interaction. We gave them that. We gave them the slightest moments of our lives and changed theirs more than we could have ever imagined. They smiled.
Day 3: Another day of working with the elderly, but also another day of something new. Today, I had the opportunity once again to work with the elderly and create those smiles another few odd times. Beyond this, I was able to meet a women who had not been out of her house in some time and was missing the beautiful weather. Her family had brought her home from the hospital in a wheelchair/wheel bed and brought her up the front porch stairs and have not yet brought her down those stairs for it was too much of a hassell. My group and I were there to change this. We had come to a house of people who do not know us but welcomed us with open arms and “I love yous” so we began our work. We began to finish up a handicap ramp for this women so she could finally feel the sunshine on her pale face. The building was fun, but even more than that it was great to see how grateful this woman and her daughter were to have us there to help. We were changing lives with the simplest steps and it was inspiring and eye opening.
Day 4: We had the opportunity today to work with a company called Grow Ohio. A company that sees the struggles in eating healthy and the downfall of the generation of farmers. This company is working to influence children and young adults to plant a few seeds and create your own food source. In doing this, my group and I were able to help clear lots for greenhouses, weed, scoop chicken poop, and work outside an elementary school building an area for students to plant, paint, and learn. We were influencing so many people with this. We were influencing a state that was lacking the healthy eating aspect. We were making people have the chance to live healthy.
Day 5: The last day. We worked with an amazing outreach group today. A group of only a few who worked to make sure the needs of the people of West Virginia were met. They were making christmas presents when we were there, yes it is only May, but they need to start early to reach their goal of 15,000 presents. These presents consisted of daily needs; shampoo, conditioner, wash cloth, toothpaste, and more. But most importantly these presents had a card, a card signed with love by the workers of this outreach. A card was able to change so many people's christmas. It is that card that will remind people that we are here, we are here to help and we are here to love.
This trip was so much more than just a service trip, it was joy, awe, amazement, and intelligence. I have never learned so much about a state in need or people in need and I would not trade my experiences for anything. It was a few days of events that let me reflect on what I am grateful for. A few days that let me become connected with a community in a entire new aspect. A few days that will last me a lifetime.