All trips had checked in by Wednesday night with the Campus Ministry office. Many groups are sending back regular text message and photo updates, but a mid-week conversation confirmed that everyone is having a wonderful time at their service sites.
Whether building a home, working with disadvantaged populations, or ministering through the simple act of presence, Anselmians continue a twenty-two year tradition started with a single trip to Orland, Maine which has grown to now accommodate trips during spring, summer and winter breaks. Nine trips are spread out across the United States, while one group works in Los Chiles, Costa Rica.
Throughout the week, participants learn about Catholic social teaching while spending time living and working with those most in need.
SERVICE & SOLIDARITY: Following are vignettes from groups, originally posted to the Service & Solidarity blog, managed by Campus Ministry.
The Benedictine School, Maryland
Maryland is in love with the kids at the Benedictine School!
Navajo Nation, Arizona
The Navajo group called as they were getting out of their service at the school, and preparing for a Native American sweat lodge experience.
This has always been a wonderful experience for the group in understanding the Navajo spirituality.
St. Joan of Arc School, New Orleans, Louisiana
Leaders Jenn and Cait emailed an update titled "Hello from Sunny New Orleans!"
We are having a blast getting to know the kids at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic School. They are so full of life and energy; it's heartbreaking to learn how much Hurricane Katrina impacted them and their families. We have been able to visit the lower ninth ward where the levees broke during the storm, which has been very emotional and made a huge impact on our lives.
Ms. Frost, the principal of the school, is such a special and wonderful person who has made this school a place where these children can be loved, as well as able to learn in an environment that strives off of their faith and hope. She was able to give us a tour of the lower ninth ward where we were blown away by the destruction and devastation that is still so evident today.
She then so kindly took us to dinner where we had all varieties of New Orleans' specialty; seafood! We hope you enjoy the pictures of these awesome kids and we are looking forward to spending the last 2 days with them!
Andre house of Hospitality, Phoenix, Arizona
The Phoenix group has the unique experience of joining the Andre House staff at White Tanks cemetery, where on the first week of the month, the staff volunteers to perform burial ceremonies for the unclaimed dead of Phoenix (mostly the homeless population, or people who cannot afford a proper burial.)
Christian Foundation for Children and Aging, Costa Rica
Editor's note: The Costa Rica leaders, Meaghan and Nicole emailed this update on Tuesday, 28 February.
Just a quick update from Los Chiles! For the past 3 days we have been hard at work. We tore down the Martinez-Espinoza house on the first day and now at the end of day three we have all the walls up and two room floors fully cemented. In between these two stages, we have dug 26 three-feet holes using shovels and metal sticks with a sharp head to break up dirt (similar to the end of an axe but dull), carried extremely heavy cement beams, mixed concrete, leveled a floor and carried the cement wall pieces to be placed. Today and yesterday we have also made time, in between working, to play soccer with Jose Carmelo and Isaida, two of the children from the family. Today some of the neighboring children joined us too, and we had a lot of fun playing with them.
Yesterday, we took a tour of some of the other parts of Los Chiles and got to see a house Saint A’s built a few years ago. During this tour we were able to deliver gifts from a Manchester sponsor to three of her sponsored kids. The area we are in is extremely impoverished but absolutely breathtaking at the same time. It’s safe to say our group feels humbled and thankful for this experience.
Tomorrow we have our day off. First, we get to sleep in and then go on a scenic boat tour of Rio Frio towards the Nicaraguan border. Next, we have a soccer match scheduled in the afternoon with local children, our whole group and the CFCA members.
So far the weather has been beautiful and not too hot, the people are more than welcoming and the food is great.