Thursday, July 16, 2009

Week 1 - Day 2

Sorry for the delay in getting the blog posted. We initially had internet access at the site where we are staying but then somehow we lost it. We're on using borrowed laptop so hopefully we'll get some entries posted now.


What a day. Fr. Ed arrived around noon and worked with our site. In the A.M. we finished ramp #1 with Mary Elaine. She came out with her daughter and we all took pics. Then off to ramp #2 at Marci's house. Marci fought forest fires for 7 summers in Montana, worked in Asbestos for many years after that, and she may have also been a smoker...but anyway her lungs are shot. She was on oxygen when I saw her and could hardly get around. The day was not too hot and she and her son had the day off, so they wanted to get her out. So she wasn't there when we finished, but she was very hospitable and thankful.
But our lunch was probab hte most intersting part fo the dayf or me. We went to Lowell's back yard where halfour crew prepped the material for tomorrow's ramp. Fr. Ed was also with us, which always makes it special but the highlight was getting Lowell to tell us more about himself. He had just showed us his Carmen Gaia that he remodeled with an electric motor and 12 vold batteries. He goes 60 miles on a charge and can go at least 75 miles per hour! He has been to New Orleans 8 times to help the needy there. And at 58 yrs old, he has sold his business, feels very blessed, and is a model of giving back. He quoted that working with the kids and Mission is his "Soul Candy." He sounded very blessed by his employees and he always wanted to do right by them. last night we learned about the Seven Tenants of Catholic Service and now I was working next to someone who exemplified them.
I shared with Lowell that working with our youth here is a celebration of their youthful spirit, and that I felt blessed to experience this.
Thanks everyone who sponsored us for making this happen. It is truly special.

Rick Ryan

Today we started on our third ramp. The first was for a lady who had a hard winter -she was infected with salmonella and was bedridden till the past few months when she started getting better. Now she is semi-mobile but will be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life so we went to make her a little bit more self-reliant so she doesn’t have to depend on her daughter as much and she has more freedom. The second house we went I didn’t really talk to but for seven years she was a fire chaser in Montana. Then she was infected with aspestus then her lungs gave out so she can’t really do anything. So she was in a wheel chair and will be from now on.

Griffin Boyle

When we arrived at our first project, I was really worried. I had no clue on how to build a ramp and neither did anyone else in my group. But as we got started, Lowell, our ‘guide’, helped us get the hang of things. The first ramp we built was for a woman named Mary Irene. Her mother has gone through many medical difficulties and was unable to enjoy their property without the worry of falling down. But once we finished the ramp, it was so rewarding to know that we built it. I never in my mind thought I could build something like that. Before this, the biggest thing I had built was a birdhouse.

On Tuesday, when we finished, the look on Mary Irene’s mom’s face was priceless when she saw the ramp. It was awesome to see her go down the ramp for the first time. I remember her saying, “This is so easy even I can do it!” It was wonderful to see what a difference we had made in her life. Later that day we split up into 2 groups, boys and girls. The boys worked on a second, smaller ramp while us girls went to Lowell’s house to paint and prepare all the wood for today’s project. I had no idea how much preparations had to be done before you got to start building!!!

I’ve met so many new people this week already. I’ve gotten really close to some people from Montana and have also grown to know myself and those from my church a little better.

Julie Balza

I arrived at my first project not knowing how use the drill, let alone being able to build a ramp. As we drove into the driveway, all I could see were cats- big and small. They even had a litter of 2 week old kittens—which were the most cutest things in the world.
Our group started out with a prayer to start the day and to our surprise, Mary Irene, one of the woman living in the house, joined in. She was the most humble person and was overjoyed to see us working on a ramp for her mother. She treated us with the most delicious cinnamon rolls, ice tea, and watermelon. She also welcomed us into her home.
It was a long hard day for our group but we managed to finish most of the work on the first day. When we finished the ramp on the second day, Mary Irene’s mother came out to walk on it. As she walked up and down the ramp, tears came to many peoples eyes. She was the happiest person alive she exclaimed. She finally can see her backyard and sit outside in solitude. She finally felt independent again. Our group said goodbye to the family and to the kittens and we all left to go build and paint another ramp. It was difficult to leave but we all knew there was more in store for us later that day and the week ahead of us. Today, we are building a ramp in 90 degree weather, luckily some kind people got posicles for us!! I’m excited for what this mission has to offer to me for the rest of the week!

Marie Flanigan

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