Monday, November 21, 2005

Only the Good Die Young

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

In honor of TL Amanda--Red 5. You will be missed!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Formal Debrief

We just had our formal debrief and I wanted to share with you some of our quatifiable accomplishments so you can get a better idea of what we did during our time in Miami. This doesn't include our time in Okefenokee.

80,700 lbs of food distributed
1/4 mile of trail cleared
400 lbs of exotic plants removed
1,200 of underbrush removed
2 acres of land cleared of brush and exotic plants
33 new plants planted
160 trees/shrubs transplanted
2,000 trees tended/cared for
6 community parks restored
2,600 lbs of trash/debris removed

Pretty crazy, huh?

Monday, November 14, 2005


I was able to upload some pictures from my time in Miami--hope you enjoy seeing a sliver of what I've been up to!

We will be starting our new project on Thursday. I found out today that we will be doing a combination of working on various buildings and also working with the boys at least a couple of nights a week. I'm really excited about that aspect. I have to admit that I miss being a substitute in that regard. It was always fun to work with the elementary school kids--they were (usually) so darn cute!

All for now. It's been a long day of work!
Grace and Peace.

Shay, Whitney, Bud (our skipper), Naomi and I-- the City of Miami hooked us up with a sailing excursion. It was pretty fun, but I think I like being out in a bigger boat! Ours was only 20 feet! But I trusted Bud--he knew what he was doing! Posted by Picasa

Me, Ernesto, Naomi and Whitney-- our team and our sponsors went out for a cuban dinner the sunday before we left... We couldn't resist taking a picture with lovable Ernie. Posted by Picasa

This guy was a bit to close for comfort, if you ask me... We had parked the car and when we came back, he was sitting right there, getting some rays. I had to sneak up to the car and slyly jump in. I waited to take a picture until after I was safe in the truck.  Posted by Picasa

Yeah, I'm a big dork who crashed this pretty ATV. I never said I knew how to drive it! This picture was taken post crash, so you can see that there wasn't any damage to it! :) Thank goodness! Posted by Picasa

Here we are! Ready to go canoeing in alligator and snake infested waters! Are we crazy, I think so! Posted by Picasa

A beautiful sunset in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge--Can you believe how pretty it is? I have to admit that I kinda really liked being there--sulfuric water and all. Posted by Picasa

Our house in Miami--Adam coming outside... This is the day we were heading out because of Hurricane Wilma. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Atlanta and pre-Thanksgiving

Hello to all! I am in Atlanta right now visiting Alexia (my cousin). My teammate, Whitney, and I drove down yesterday. It's about 4 1/2 hours from Charleston and we got Veterans day off (being a federal employee rules!)--so, we decided to drive on down and hang out.
Atlanta is a beautiful city! It's "cityesque", but it has trees everywhere that are starting to change color--so pretty! :)It's also fairly cold. Well, it's cold to me because I just came up from Miami where it's like 85 degrees with humidity. Basically, my body hasn't adjusted to cooler weather yet. Charleston is pretty cool, weather wise, right now as well. Something I will have to get used to! :)
So, about "pre-Thanksgiving"--Alexia and two of her cousins from Uncle Bob's family decided to have a pre-thanksgiving because they weren't going to be together for the actual Thanksgiving (at least I think that's what the story is... it could be more complicated, but that story works for my purpose!). They just happened to be having the dinner today, which is GREAT news for me! I LOVE TURKEY! So, I'm kinda going to have a thanksgiving celebration this year, which I thought wasn't going to happen at all. In case you're confused as to why, we only get Thanksgiving day off, not the friday--so I can't really fly home. Plus, it's only 4 more weeks until I'll be flying home for Christmas--Yea! :)Long story short--I probably will be doing something for the holiday, but it won't be "traditional." Anywho, I've gone on way to long about this! Sorry!

In case you're wanting a bit more information on what I actually did during my first spike, here's a bit of a breakdown:
1. The first week we picked up about 2 tons of trash and debris that was along the parks that border Biscayne Bay. It was gross, nasty, smelly work, but we did it and we did it well. We worked with a lot of the Solid Waste workers from the city of Miami--they were pretty funny and it was fun talking to them about their city and telling them about our program. I think they thought we were all pretty crazy. :)
2. We spent the next week in Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. I wrote a lot about my time there so I won't go into to much detail. I'll sum it up with these words: Canoes, lopers, motorboats and ATV's.
3. We went back to Miami about 3 days after Hurricane Wilma hit the Miami area to a house without power. For three days we worked with the City and FEMA distributing ice, water and food at three different locations. It was hard work--my arms were bruised and my back was killing me, but it was amazing to be working there and seeing the faces of those who were affected. It's something that I will never forget.
After that, we spent the rest of our time working on Virginia Key. We removed a whole lot of "invasive exotic plants" (aka weeds) from areas that had native plants. We worked on clearing out the nature trail so that people would be able to acutally walk through it and we worked in the nursery--cleaning it up and transplanting different species so that they could develop a bit more and then be moved out into the hammock area. We also planted some new plants while we were there. Overall, I think we got a lot done for the area. If we had more time and no hurricane, I think we could have done a lot more, but I was pleased with what we did accomplish.

Overall, we had a pretty atypical first spike and we had a lot of bad luck. I hope that it doesn't follow us for the rest of the year! :)

All for now-- the turkey is calling my name!
Grace and Peace.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Leaving Miami

Hello dear friends!
I'm writing from Miami for the last time. I am sorry that my posts have been so infrequent, but we have been living in a house without power since we came back from Georgia. :( I can only imagine what it was like for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Luckily we have a gas stove, so we have been able to cook meals for dinner, but living on PB&J sandwiches for a week and a half for lunch has gotten a little old. So has no air conditioning, no lights, no hot showers and no laundry facilities. :) it has been pretty trying for our team, but we have done well.

Let me tell you a funny story:

Two nights ago at 3am, one of my roommates, Meredith, woke up suddenly. She put her hand to the floor and felt water. Her first thought was that one of our other roommates, Whitney, had spilled her water bottle during the night. Then she realized that the water was pretty deep and it was in the entire room. Whitney, Jen and I woke up shortly after her and we all realized that our room was flooded. We could hear water running somewhere in the house, but we had no idea where it was coming from. My three roommates got up and went exploring. I was a little slower--I kept focusing on the fact that it as 3 in the morning and I wanted to sleep! :)
Once they got into the living room, they realized that the entire house had 2 1/2 inches of water in it due to the water main on one of our toilets mysteriously breaking at some point during the night. Luckily, it was CLEAN water. We spent the following 2 hours brushing and moping the water out of our front door. We also had to remove everything that we had on the floor that had become sopping wet: air mattresses, sleeping bags, backpacks, clothing, computers, cameras, books... all that we owned in the house. Everything ended up on the front lawn. Around 5:30, our sleep deprived bodies couldn't handle anymore and we all went back to sleep--some people on the front lawn, some on the couch, some in the van. We woke up again around 8 am and continued the clean up process by pulling together all our wet clothes so that we could take them to a laundry mat. As our house is right next door to a school, you can imagine the questioning looks that we received as parents dropped off their children and teachers came to work. Some people thought that we were having a yard sale--it pretty much looked like it. :)

We are leaving Miami tomorrow and driving back to Charleston where we will be working until Christmas break. Our next project is with Eagle harbor Home for Boys. The boys are either neglected or abandoned. We are not sure what we will be doing there, but we are looking forward to going back to base to have some personal space. Living quarters here have been very tight and we all are excited about having our own rooms again.

That's all for now. Once I get back to Charleston I hope to post some pictures from my adventures here. There are some good ones. :)

Grace and Peace.