Missions Down South - My Family Travels
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              I recently went on a week-long mission trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to rebuild houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina. While on this trip, I shared a room with twenty other girls and worked in extreme heat conditions. I stayed in an area with a high-crime rate and encountered many people who were homeless. This trip was about reaching out to others who were in need during a hard time. I along with others helped them rebuild their lives after it was torn apart by a horrible tragedy.

            I stayed in a church that was still being rebuilt from the hurricane, and it had a nice facility for us to stay. I was thankful for the cleanliness and a hot meal; however, it had its downside. There was rat-poison all over because they had rates that were two-feet long. Also, there were only two showers for over one hundred girls. One that that really worked for me was the large AC unit. After working in hundred degree weather, I appreciated air-conditioning more than I ever did before. Also, the bunk-beds and mattresses were really nice to have. I was thankful to sleep on a bed, instead of on the floor.

            While in New Orleans, I saw many homeless people who depended on soup-kitchens to stay alive. Everywhere I looked, I saw someone who only had one set of clothing to wear. The house I worked at was near FEMA trailers. The water they drank from the house was pale brown. The living conditions that these people lived in were horrible. At the French Quarters we encountered people who pan-handled a lot. For example, I would be talking to a friend and suddenly look down to see a man shining my shoes demanding money because he just gave you a shoe-shine. At night people slept on benches by restaurants, the levy, and even in the hallways where tourists walked to get to the ferry. They had no where to go.

            This made me realize that I have taken many things for granted, such as the house I live in and the many choices of clothing I have to choose from for one day. This trip down South was a real eye-opener for me. I became more appreciative of the little things that I have, such as the around-the-clock protection and a home-cooked meal. My trip to New Orleans was the best trip I have ever been on. I really learned a lot and was changed for the better.

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