Thursday, February 18, 2010

ATL, GA (part 2)

Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear; only love can do that. Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it. Hatred confuses life. Love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” –MLK Jr.

So, here is a brief over view of what we did:
Day 1
Land in Atlanta and spend 4 hours in the airport waiting for people to get there. I am the first one for this and I watch as all these strangers meet up with the person collecting us. We sit around and begin to get to know each other. We get to the place we are staying at and unpack and socialize a bit

Day 2
We have a 2 hour delay because of snow… in Georgia! We played Apples to Apples and get to know each other even better. We then go and start our work on this house. It is just a skeleton of a building. Just a frame and a roof. We begin to insulate it and I have a great moment working with this one girl who helped me finish an entire wall. Then we went over to the church that owns this building for lunch where they made us a great lunch and prayed for us and such, which touched me even though I’m not religious. We also had TA meetings where we shared goals and recognized each other for things. It was good.

Day 3
More insulation work… and we went bowling (I think. It may have been some other night, but it’s all just a blur so I’m not sure when this was, exactly)

Day 4
Last day of work and we finished most of the insulation. Other people also got most of the dry wall up and we had about 30 firefighters (none of whom were very attractive) help us with dry wall. We really put some muscle on the bones of that house. We went back to the lodge that we were staying at and had I fierce dance party, lots of fun! Even though I don’t dance much. We had a long and emotional group meeting and some very personal sharing going on. I came out to all 32 people in the room during this, and it felt good and accepted. We identified 2 girls with trust issues, gave then blindfolds and made a trust ladder with pairs of people holding up sticks at different heights that they had to get through. It was a very intense bonding moment and after it we had a huge group hug and most of us were crying. It was a beautiful experience.

Day 5
This was our last full day together and it was devoted to fun. We went to the MLK memorial/tomb. It was very moving. After that we went to the Atlanta aquarium, which is massive and awesome. It also has several whale sharks and huge manta rays that are simply awe inspiring and terrifying at the same time. AMAZING! We also went to the Atlanta underground mall, which was super ghetto (the maniquins had some serious black girl asses.) and shady, but fun. I am gonna try to get one of my new friends to write a hilarious piece about a guy she met down there… I also got a couple souvenir license plates from this one store that had a whole bunch of them with ghetto black girl names. I got one that says Shameeka (which has a truly great story behind it) and one that says Dick. They are both proudly sitting in the back window of my car now. We went back to the lodge and ate pizza and had a dance off and just hung out. Then we had another very emotional group meeting that consisted of 2 hours of sharing everything we could think of… we could have gone on all night. There were many tears cuz none of us wanted to leave. It was one of the most emotional nights of my life for sure.

Day 6
We woke up, showered, ate breakfast, packed and cleaned. Some people left early, but the rest of us got on the bus and headed to the airport. We all checked in and settled ourselves in the place where we met on the first day. One moving experience was when a hundred soldiers or so made their way through the atrium and everyone in there gave them a loud round of applause. It was very cool. Slowly groups of us would make our way through security accompanied by an endless torrent of crying and love. I left with 3 others, but leaving the larger group was still one of the hardest things to do. In line one of the kids told he how brave it was when I came out to everybody, and how he respected me for it. I cried harder. I rode the plane to Denver with that kid and said my last goodbye of the day. I made my way back to Albuquerque, rode home with my dad and unpacked and listened to sad music.


And here is a pic of my new hair... you cant see it THAT well, but whatever...

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