Saturday, March 15, 2014

Get Your Harlan Glow On

I thought I was dying this morning.  I know that sounds like a gross exaggeration, but I really can’t remember the last time being sick made me feel so exhausted.  I got up and got ready to go to the worksite, but felt like I was completely disconnected from my body.  When we got to the house the carpenters hadn’t arrived yet and while I sat in the passenger seat watching people play in the front yard and take pictures I felt like I was watching a movie.  It was so strange.  We had to wait almost two hours for the carpenters to arrive with supplies so that we could get started on our work.  By the time they got there I was out for the count.  I crawled into the back of one of our cargo vans and fell asleep for almost two hours.

Student coordinators and staff leaders

Selfie by the student taking our coordinator photo...

Waiting for the timer for a group photo

After we took smaller group pics of the seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshman, how could we leave out the alums???

No idea

When I woke up in was time for lunch.  We got in the vans and headed downtown to the visitors center for bathrooms and picnic tables.  Today was by far the most beautiful day we’d had and the students enjoyed the warm weather by leg wrestling in the grass after lunch.  What is leg wrestling?  Imagine arm wrestling except your laying on your backs head to toe and you interlock legs instead.  After eating my PB&J I climbed back into the van and feel asleep again.  I woke up to screaming laughter over the leg wrestling.  I decided at that point that I had to get up and move around or I was going to be comatose for the whole day.
So, what to do when you’re feeling sick and exhausted??  Climb on a roof I say!  It sounds like a really bad plan, but sitting on the roof with Katie “supervising” the students working on the roof may have been the best few hours of my trip.  The sun was bright, the air was clean and clear and we were surrounded by these amazing mountains.  In Philadelphia when I’m sick I need DayQuil….in Harlan the sun and the air did me just fine. 

This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip

At the end of the day these amazing 36 students had re-shingled almost half the roof and built 2/3 of a fence in addition to all of their other projects completed earlier in the week.  It was bittersweet driving away from the worksites knowing that we weren’t going back, but what a feeling of accomplishment knowing all they had done in just 3 ½ short days of work! 

The house as we left it

Absolutely nothing was done for this fence when we arrived and this is how the students were able to leave it.
We drove past this roadside waterfall every day on our way to the worksite

Of course  I had to stop and take a selfie!
We headed off to Harlan County High School where our guest from our cookout on Wednesday, Scott, is a teacher.  He had offered to give us a tour of the high school and we gladly accepted.  On past trips students had always gone to visit the campus, but had never had access to the inside.  The school is beautiful!  Really modern, an amazing gym, and three floors of classrooms.  It was built in 2006 and it consolidated several local high schools into one large school.  We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, but you can always check out their website here for more information.

Group photo outside the HCHS football stadium
For dinner tonight we invited the contractors over and Jason came with a few of his friends.  We ate pasta and played a bunch of games with them.  My personal favorite was a game called The Oracle.  Three people sit next to one another and they are The Oracle.  Anyone else can come up and ask the oracle a question.  The trick is that the three people must answer by only saying one word at a time in order, they have to do their best to make sense, and they have to keep going until they say the words “the oracle has spoken.”  We watched a few rounds of the game and then the students started chanting for Katie, Sean, and I to be the oracle.  We grudgingly agreed and then the funniest, most ironic thing happened.  The girl who was friends with Jason, that had just met us and knew nothing about us, came up to ask the last of the three questions we had to answer as the oracle and I kid you not, her question was, “Oh great oracle, where in West Africa can I find sweet, succulent man meat?”  Well, I had been talking about Landry regularly all week and the students knew that he was from Africa.  The room ERUPTED in laughter and of course she had no idea why.  I have no clue how we as the oracle actually answered that question, but I do know that I tried to end it a few times by saying THE to start the magic phrase “the oracle has spoken,” but my dear colleagues were just having too much fun with it and kept the game going for a while. 

After our friends left we settled in for reflection.  It was a long night as it was an opportunity for anyone to reflect back on their week and share how and when they felt they acquired the Harlan glow.  The Harlan glow is not really describable if you haven’t been on this trip, but there is just a special something you start to sense within yourself at some point on the trip.  I’m not sure how or when it was dubbed the Harlan Glow, but I love the term.  I didn’t share anything in tonight’s reflection because I just wasn’t ready yet to reflect, but I imagine once I’m home and have had time to process everything here it will come.  I’ve said it multiple times in my blogs, but I will say it again, I cannot get over what an amazing, understanding, wonderful group of people I have spent my week with.  The staff and the students, everyone, just incredible people and I continue to be so impressed with the students on this trip that I feel like the word impressed doesn’t do it justice.  I am looking forward to going to home tomorrow to my own bed that I don’t have to use a ladder to climb into and my family, but I wouldn’t have traded this week in for any other Spring Break option out there.

1 comment:

  1. And here I thought you would've ended out with the Harlan shake