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March 2, 2009

Today was our first day working. We weren’t able to help with any of the Habitat sites, so instead, we worked on a United Way “beautification project” in East Biloxi. After some initial confusion about which houses we were actually supposed to be working on, the majority of our day was spent painting. We didn’t get to meet any of the homeowners but we did meet the neighborhood dog, named “Shorty,” though most of us decided to call him “Friend” before we learned his name. I experienced scaffolding for the first time today as well. Though it was scary at first, I eventually got over it and was able to reach the heights of the trim I needed to.

We’re also starting to get used to Camp Victor and the way it’s run. Lights out is at 10:00 p.m., and lights on is at 6:00 a.m. The breakfast bell rings at 7:00 a.m. sharp and all volunteers must be on their sites by 8:00 a.m. Volunteers are able to make bag lunches for themselves before leaving the camp to eat on-site around noon. Clean-up at the sites begins around 3:30 p.m., volunteers pack up and are back to camp around 4:30 p.m. for free time until dinner promptly at 6:00 p.m. The meals so far have been pretty authentic, delicious Southern food that fills our bellies and fuels our work. After dinner, we have a group huddle with worship songs and prayer. We also do an activity called “Roses and Thorns” during which each Habiteer says something great that happened to them that day (their rose) and something not so great that happened to them that day (their thorn). This activity usually results in some pretty humorous stories and helps everyone look for the little things that make each day a blessing.

Though we know 6:00 a.m. will come early, we’re all looking forward to getting on the Habitat sites tomorrow.