Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dear New Orleans,

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)

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