Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day One: Pass Christian, Mississippi

We arrived safely in Gulfport Mississippi around 5 PM (two hours ahead of Pacific Time) and had no problem getting luggage or getting our van. We arrived here at the Camp around 6:20 with a completely packed parking lot. Greg Nitchman the Second Wave director told me he was expecting around 60 volunteers this week and looks like we may have more like 90 or 100 counting us.

It is true dormitory living this time as all of us are in one room with 5 bunk beds. Greg asked us if any of us were shy and if so, we'd better get over it!! Oh well, just like college days.

Had dinner around 6:30, meatloaf and real mashed potatoes, and had some interesting conversations with another group from Ohio who arrived two days ago. These 6 guys all work at a belt manufacturing plant and due to the economy there only work two weeks, then are laid off for the next two weeks, the return to work for another two weeks. At least they still have a job when many of their neighbors don’t. Kind of shock for me even though we’re just starting to feel some of the economic crunch in Seattle. Anyway, their boss suggested they come down during one of their weeks off, so all drove down here and will be here till Friday.

Greg still believes we’ll be working on remodeling a home and adding a pier type foundation on to it. Should be quite an experience. At least we’re somewhat experts at building a pier type foundation from out last trip.

After dinner, students heading down to the beach. It’s about 75 with a real light breeze coming off the Gulf and just a light touch of humidity. I’ve; changed into shorts and more than likely will be wearing them most of the week. So sorry the rest of you are dealing with highs of 50, lows near 30 and rain showers. Supposed to be very pleasant here all week.

The new students have had a chance to take a trip to see the destruction. I’m saving that for tomorrow morning. 3 of the students came last year, and they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about what the new ones will see. It will be interesting to see their reaction.

I had a student last week who decided they couldn’t make the trip, so I offered their spot to Verne Cysensky our Trades Division Maintenance Mechanic. He was thrilled that I asked him to come and he is just as excited as the students are to see what the area is truly like. We might break off into two groups with Verne heading up one group of students at a different project and I with the remodel. We’ll wait and see what happens in the morning.

So far, it looks like it will be a totally different experience for me and my students since we’ll be working with the other groups here. I look forward to meeting with as many of them as I can and share our experiences together.

Well that’s it for today. Pretty short and sweet and I’m ready for bed. Long day of traveling and need to get rested up to tomorrow.

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