Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day

Yes, working in Austin was rewarding… but it’s nothing compared to a week spent in Louisiana. My team, Water 5, is spending this next round working in Thibodaux, building houses with Habitat for Humanity. We live in a quaint little volunteer house – five bedrooms, two bathrooms, a refrigerator, oven, washer, dryer, and a new appreciation for one another’s personal space (or lack thereof) – that’s right on our worksite.
In Austin we were kept largely anonymous; we worked in an office setting with little access to the community on a daily basis. This round takes us to the complete opposite side of the spectrum! Pulling into Thibodaux we smiled and waved with amazement as more and more of the population gleefully recognized us. One look at the AmeriCorps ‘A’ that decorated the nine occupants of our government vans, and their faces would visibly brighten.
Our home is on the edge of a quiet little neighborhood, so we are greeted at the end of the day by the cries of children getting home from school with the hopes of playing with us. So far I’ve learned how to skateboard (poorly) from my new friend, Larry, discovered that prolonged games of tag are much harder than I remembered them to be, and I’ve seen how ten minutes out of my day can make all the difference to the day of a younger individual.
A conversation I had with a Louisiana resident during our Day of Service on Martin Luther King Day was probably the most affecting experience thus far. It’s hard to capture the sentiment one feels when told that, “this area, these people, those children playing… None of this would be possible now if it weren’t for all you’ve done for us.”