A Great Day of Work

Our day began with a delicious breakfast of home fries, eggs and toast; which was prepared by Shannon P., Hu Di and Jennifer.  Although the schools are still closed today because of the weather, we’re able to proceed with the construction project at Oak Hill elementary school.

We arrived at the school at about 11:00 AM and our team was split into various groups.  Shannon P., Shannon B., Jessie, Kelly, Sydnie and I were assigned to assist the 3 local residents with installing lights in the gymnasium.

Lisa, Jennifer and Jamie helped clean a room which will be the new home of a local homeless woman.  Sharon swept and mopped the 1st and 2nd floors while Khadijah, Kathy and Liz cleaned the bathroom and kitchen.  Bob mopped and cleaned the dining room and kitchen.  Khadijah, Andrew, Liz and Jamie all helped with the jack hammer to break up concreted to prepare for the new tile on the second floor.  It was Jamie’s first time using the jack hammer and I remember that it was one of her goals from orientation.

Meanwhile, Hu Di our team leader, great facilitator and caring woman, asked us to make a list of preferable groceries and she went to the market with Artie to pick up groceries for our team to prepare future meals.  After all, energy is needed to complete any job.

Andrew, who is an awesome assistant team leader, showed his concern by periodically checking on us, asking of our needs and making sure we had plenty of work to do.  Sometimes the small and simple things can show a great deal of concern.  He will be a magnificent team leader in Beards Fork, WV.

Lisa Johnson, registered nurse and community college of Philadelphia nursing professor, was very involved with the construction project.  As we have only seen Lisa lecture to our class, no one could even imagine Lisa with dirty hands and jeans.  She worked very hard and completed her task for today.

Team 85 hadImg_0335 the luxury of meeting Vickie Smith who has many faces in the community.  She introduced herself as the construction manager for Oak Hill School and Housing manager.  But during our conversation I learned that she is a caring mother of not only her biological children, but also looked upon as a mother or aunt to residents in the community.  She has a wonderful heart for people in general with a goal to make those obtain housing or simply who need housing.  Just making the residents feel comfortable.  The Oak Hill School will be used for those purposes by installing a computer lab with free WiFi for the children and rooms for the homeless.  She inspired me in so many ways as I am one who cares deeply about the homeless population.  She made me feel like my dreams and goals are reachable.  Vickie Smith is a phenomenal woman.

In this community everyone looks out for one another.  They are more than just neighbors, they are family.  We also had the opportunity to converse with the young working men in Beards Fork, WV.  One of which has an amazing set of skills that will qualify him for excellent pay rate, however the employment with one social detriment of health that shields created the way of success is very limited.  He worked on the local mine in Beards Fork, WV for 8 months and after the layoff he accepted a position making one half of his previous salary; leading to his frustration and anger as his responsibilities to raise his 2 year old daughter.  He is very grateful and appreciative of a second opportunity.  He thanked me for just engaging in a conversation, sometimes that’s all it takes to bring a smile to one face.

It must be difficult taking a pay cut and managing to raise a family.  I wish him the best in his future endeavors.  Well team 85, It appears that we had a productive day.  A day in which we reached and achieved 5 goals set during orientation.  We’ve helped each other, embraced our neighbors, learned new things, had fun, and most of all we’ve made a difference.  Our new goal is to continue making a difference.  I’m pretty confident that team 85 met the responsibilities today of building a stronger community as Global Volunteers.

-Beheejah Mahdi

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply