Monday, March 22, 2010

Before returning to IU, we stopped at Nashville, TN for a day. After a week of manual labor, all of us slept in until 10am. After we packed up the van, we headed to Loveless Cafe for some brunch food. This cafe is featured on Food Network and Travel Channel so we had to check it out. After half an hour drive to the cafe, we found out that the wait was 1hr and 30mins long for a table. In order to kill time, we went to all the gift shops that were located in the same square. After 1 hour and 40 mins wait, our buzzer finally went off. After being seated at the table, the server brought out Loveless' famous biscuits. The wait was justified. After leaving the cafe, our next stop was the Belle Meade Plantation. 3/4 of the winning horses at the Kentucky Durby can be traced back to this plantation. Stepping into the front door was like stepping into a timemachine, which took us back to the early 18th century. After a guided tour of the mansion, we headed to downtown Nashville. Since the weather was beautiful, we walked around downtown and enjoyed the beautiful sceneries. Our last stop of the day was at Cafe Coco, a cafe that serves amazing menu items. Located right outside of Vanderbuilt University, the cafe was crowded by college students. Needless to say, the food was incredible. After we finished dinner, we hopped back into the van and drove back to Bloomington. After a long week of hard work, nothing can beats sleeping in my own bed once again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

3 Day's in and the Work is Only Getting Harder and Harder

As usual we were all up bright and early ready to build! And today was the hardest day yet. Kyleigh, Bill, Dave, and Raof all worked on one of the houses that was in the framing stage of construction and needed to nail plywood walls onto the sides of the house, cut out windows, and nail two by fours to the bottom of the house which called for a whole lot of hammering and lifting. On the other hand Annie and Beverly finished the Facia along the edge of the roof of another house, which was the last finishing touch for the roof then spent the rest of the day dismantling and rebuilding scaffolding, caulking, and Annie started on the siding of a different house. After work we loaded into the van and headed over to the Bilxi shore side souvenir shop and looked at all the unique trinkets and such. Then we headed to Antioch, showered, and had a long dinner ending in an amazing dessert. We had homemade chocolate candy with walnuts, which were absolutely amazing, and our favorite homemade ice cream cake. Really tired from our long day of work we spent the rest of the night playing our new favorite game Scruples! The fact that tomorrow will be our last day in Biloxi is bittersweet and we all feel this trip has gone by too fast.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Rainy Start on St. Patty's Day

Today started out a bit rainy so we had a slight delay and started work at 10:00 AM. While we waited for the rain to clear we played Scruples and got the chance to learn a lot about each other. Once we finally made it to our work site Kyleigh, Bill, and Dave finished up the shingles on the roof and prepared for the work that would need to be done tomorrow. Beverly and Annie continued to work on the Soffit along the edges of the roof, and finally finished it by the end of the workday and Raof was all over the worksites doing odd jobs at each of the houses. Unfortunately, we all failed to wear green for the holiday although the volunteers from Massachusets were all spirited enough to make up for our mistake. After getting home to Antioch, showering, and having an amazing dinner of chicken, rice, and ice cream cake dessert we headed over to Island Stikz and played two intense games of bowling where Dave was the champion of both. After bowling we were all tired from our long day of work and went straight to bed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Our First Day of Work

Today we got an early morning start and loaded up on banana pancakes, eggs, and sausage to prepare us for our first long day of work. All dressed and ready to build we headed to our worksite and were all assigned seperate jobs. There are three houses all at different stages of construction at our worksite and we all worked on each of them. Raof worked on a house that was in the very early stages of construction and helped build the framing for the walls. Bill, Dave, and Kyleigh nailed the shingles onto the roof of another house, and Beverly and Annie installed insulation under one of the houses and nailed plastic sheets under the roof which covered the bottom and helped with insulation. We worked with a group of volunteers from Massachusets who were also working for Habitat during their spring break. The weather was beatiful and maybe even a little warm, especially for those working on a roof, and our first day went very smoothly. At the end of the work day we headed home to shower and eat dinner and cozied up for a game of Taboo (our favorite).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 1 adventure

Today we visited New Orleans which is only about an hour away from where we are staying. It was our first time in New Orleans for all of us and we all loved it! The buildings in the French Quarter and on Bourbon Street were all unique different colors and had an old French colonial style with big balconies that had beautiful intricate rod iron railings. We also walked through the farmers market which had plenty of cafes, cutre shops, fresh fruits, and souvenirs. Also, we walked through a park along the shore side while a steam boat serenaded us with several songs. After asking a few people at the farmers market where we should eat we decided to go to a restaurant called The Gumbo shop where we ate what was voted "the best chicken gumbo in New Orleans" and it was delicious! After eating lunch it was time to start heading back towards Biloxi so we could make it to our Habitat for Humanity orientation on time. On the way we stopped by a beach a played football and pictionary for a little while. In the afternoon we attended our orientation and drove by our site that we will be working on all week. Finally, we had dinner at one of the 5 Waffle Houses along the shore in Biloxi then headed back home to Antioch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pre-trip reflection

I can't believe we are leaving in 2 days! After months of planning, we are finally getting ready to head down to Biloxi, MS. As the group leader, there are so many things going through my head right now. Firstly, I want to make sure that all my participants will have a safe trip there and back. Additionally, I want to make sure that this trip is impactful and meaningful for my participants. As Business majors, most people think that we are disconnected from society and only cares about making money. This is a great opportunity for us Kelley kids to show the community that we do care about our community. On this trip, I hope that my participants will be able to get in touch with the "darker side" of society. As college kids, we live under a protective bubble, sheltered from reality. Now this is a great opportunity for all of us to see and experience lives beyond the bubble. We are breaking free!

Although Hurricane Katrina faded from the news, the damages left behind are permanent. Working with Habitat will allow us to experience the post-katrina damage firsthand and also be able to actively help rebuild the town that many calls home. To gain some experience, we volunteered with Bloomington Habitat last Saturday as our pre-trip volunteering event. We were lucky enough to work with the future owner of the house. While we installed windows, I was able to talk to the owner's kids. Their faces lit up when they are talking about finally owning a house and all the things they'll do once they move in. Despite the draft coming through the doors, their story warmed my heart.