Thank you for making our trip down south such an amazing experience. I would have to agree that this adventure was beyond eye opening. I learned more about New Orleans and the south than I have in any school book over the past 19 years of my life. But it was all made possible by you guys. Our group really got along so well and laughed off any problems that we encountered. We could not have asked for a better leader than Linda Donovan. She was able to get us all where we needed to be and to make every moment of everyday as enjoyable as possible. including many trips for fro-yo or ice cream. I am so proud of the work that we were able to achieve as a team. Not just on the house, but in the lives and hearts of the people at the school, in the homes, and the people shopping at the Habitat Restore. We all went down there to be of service to other people, but upon departure I think we all realized how much we had been changed. I can't speak for everyone, but I felt a lot different when I made it back here to Duquesne. I felt this joy in the form of a smile that I was unable to wipe off my face. I did not understand it at first, but eventually I realized it was just a side effect from my life changing experience down in New Orleans. I felt like a happier person once i got back on the bluff. I felt like I could see the bright side in any situation that the world threw at me and that I could meet any challenges with courage. I felt changed. I hope you all had similar experiences. I know that we all grew closer this past week and that the bond we formed on our NOLA 2013 trip won't easily be broken. :) I miss you guys already. Beth
My experience in New Orleans was very eye opening and inspiring. I worked at the Restore on Monday and although it was a much different experience than working at the site, our help there was just as appreciated and I realized that it was just as important. The Restore is dependent on donations and the donations sold helps to finance the materials used to build the house. I enjoyed working on the house because being able to see the progress made each day was very satisfying. I was surprised to see how much evidence was still visible from Katrina years later. One of the most interesting things to me was the x marks spray painted on the front of many houses. This trip left a huge impression on me and helped me to realize how I want to share my blessings with those who are in less fortunate circumstances. Monica
New Orleans was an amazing experience. I feel really blessed to have worked with such great group of people and to have made friendships that would have never been if it were not for this trip. It still surprises me how well our group got along. Not only did I have a great experience in New Orleans and working with Habitat, I also have people I can now call friends who have shared the same experience. Working with Habitat for Humanity was better than I expected. Though I had no construction experience, I was putting up the siding on the house in no time. I worked on a house that someone will live in one day. Not many people can say that, and I’m glad that I can. One thing I will never forget in New Orleans is when our group visited Bayou Bienvenue. Andrea, our tour guide, gave us a tour of the Lower ninth Ward and we stopped at the Bayou, but it didn’t look like a Bayou. A Bayou is supposed to be full of thick vegetation and aquatic animals, but it was the complete opposite. It was a barren body of water full of skinny dead trees. She handed out an article with a picture of what the Bayou used to look like fifty years ago and the difference was shocking. It used to be beautiful, but now it looks dead. It’s sad that such a beautiful part of nature was destroyed so easily by canals that introduced salt water into the freshwater swamp, destroying all the plant and animal life. It’s interesting how people have realized after Katrina how important it is to protect the environment since the swamp protected the Lower ninth ward from flooding. Sadly, it took a disaster for people to realize the harmful effects of disrupting the balance of the ecosystem. One thing I learned is that it’s important to maintain the balance of the ecosystem, because the environment protects us in many ways that we fail to acknowledge until it is too late. Natalie
I don’t know how to sum up our time together in a few words. You were everything and more than I expected. Throughout our time we experienced many things ranging from the French Quarter to cleaning out “The Great Container” to sharing two showers and one bathroom with twenty other girls to waking up at 6 in the morning . . .EVERY day. The experience definitely changed my life and made me realize that in life we should focus more on the simple things rather than get caught up in our busy schedules. The view that they have in the lower ninth ward, where most of the houses were completely demolished was very uplifting and filled with hope which I did not expect.
The outlook in the South will continue to stay with me in Pittsburgh. We seem to be more closed and private with our personal lives. For example, a simple hello is rarely exchanged between two strangers. In New Orleans, everyone seems to say hello to strangers and even are willing to engage in a conversation with the people that they have never met before. After seeing how friendly the people were I am going to take it upon myself to make sure that I smile at more people and engage in more conversation with people. I was reflecting on my time in New Orleans on the plane ride back to Pittsburgh. At first, I thought that the work that we did on the house was not significant at all because we did not finish the siding and the roof did not get finished either. However, toward the end of the flight I looked at the smaller picture. Us, twenty four of us, helped one family live happily without worry. We helped a family turn a house into a home. New Orleans, you mean more to me than I had expected. Because of your culture and the time I spent with you getting close to twenty three other individuals, I am a better person. I would like to get involved with Habitat for Humanity in my hometown and participate in other mission trips that campus offers. Giving back is something that people take advantage of and I would not have wanted to spend my Spring Break any other place. You and twenty three others along with myself changed a families life -- for the better. To me, that is all that matters from this trip. If one person is changed than I helped to make a difference to one person. New Orleans, I have one last thing to say to you: Thank You.
Until next time, -- Student Seeking Service (Kayla)
My experience in New Orleans was very eye opening and inspiring. I worked at the Restore on Monday and although it was a much different experience than working at the site, our help there was just as appreciated and I realized that it was just as important. The Restore is dependent on donations and the donations sold helps to finance the materials used to build the house. I enjoyed working on the house because being able to see the progress made each day was very satisfying. I was surprised to see how much evidence was still visible from Katrina years later. One of the most interesting things to me were the x marks spray painted on the front of many houses. This trip left a huge impression on me and helped me to realize how I want to share my blessings with those who are in less fortunate circumstances. Monica