Global Volunteers in Appalachia 4/18/14

A streak of toughness, combined with optimism, is a good passport through life.

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Gardening “anchors” our thoughts as the week winds down.

(Kathy) We woke a little later than usual, anticipating a lower-key day and no driving.  Although the sun wasn’t shining, the air was warmer than it had been, so working outdoors would be a treat. Fran, Helen, Mary Beth, and Kathy got started on the garden. Pulling weeds, digging in the soil, and pulling out rocks. Fran, Helen, Mary Beth, and John started on the outdoor beds. What started as a giant weedy mess ended after hours of work as four pristine, beautiful beds just waiting to be filled with vegetable plants.

Kathy worked all day on the inside garden/greenhouse, which turned out great! Ready to grow all the vegetables planted by the children the day before and hopefully to grow others over the next few months.

Arlin set out on a magical adventure to gather all the supplies needed to fix the kitchen cabinets and take care of other odd jobs around the property. A very efficient journey took almost two hours with the lengthy drive to town.

Jonah decided to take the ride to the airport with Artie after working in the beds outside in the morning. She was responsible for picking up our precious s’mores supplies for our bonfire later that evening. Without those, I don’t think we would have survived our last night at Beards Fork.

We decided it would be much more fun to have dinner at ‘home’ rather than heading out to a restaurant. We had a very festive smorgasbord of food – our own special buffet – spaghetti, chili, pizza, tofu and rice, etc. A buffet of leftovers that was delicious! We were joined by Artie, John David, Sue (the next week’s team leader), and Raphael. They also happily (?) participated in the group’s roses-and-thorns discussion at the table.

Our final excitement was building the biggest, hottest, and most beautiful bonfire ever (ok, maybe not ‘ever’). But it was superb! The s’mores were stupendous!

Before we ended our dinner, we spent some time re-capping our goals for the week and sharing ways in which we achieved them. A few tears were shed when we shared our feelings about the week, about the friends we made, and about the experiences we shared. Some challenging, some hysterically funny, and all truly rewarding. What I’ll remember most are the wonderful people I’ve met:

Amy: Our fearless leader with amazing ‘conflict resolution’ skills and a master at meal preparation.

Fran: The team songbird. No day went by without Fran turning an innocent statement into a song!

Arlin: A man of many talents and peacefulness. He led many a team member on Beards Fork hikes, adventures, nature walks, and flower walks (where he pointed out the flowers we couldn’t see – and was able to name them all!).

Helen: Our resident prober. With the ability to interrogate in a gentle way, Helen was able to find out about everyone and everything, and shared it with the group. We all learned a lot from Helen, not just the information she discovered but also how she maintains her strength and optimism.

John: I call him the ANIMAL – always willing to help others, never rested a minute! Either washing dishes, making coffee, putting together wood frames, or putting together what needed to be put together.

Mary Beth: Applause! Applause! We’re all envious of your ability to be assertive but not mean or disrespectful. Not to mention just a great person.

Jonah: The shining star of the group. A downright awesome person who I know will carry this experience with her and share her laughter and light with others. I will remember her mismatched socks, wood sticks in water (aka carrots), and her magnificent drop ceiling. I know Jonah will be successful in whatever she does. Keep on listening to country music!

I will miss you all!

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