Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Thursday!

WBA Camden says hello, and sends this shot of a beautiful mural in their service site neighborhood:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

WBA Camden at work

Check out these shots of WBA Camden at the Philabundance Food Pantry, where they packaged over 700 lbs of food in one morning!

And here a bonus shot of the whole group at the Romero Center:

Mid-week Check Ins

Leaders from all our WBA trips called to check in yesterday with great news of the work they're doing, the people they are meetings, and their excitement for what remains of their trips!
WBA Camden: Leader Jacqui called as the group was headed out for their night off to explore nearby Philadelphia. She mentioned that the group was really looking forward to the evening together, as they are split into smaller groups during the day to attend various service sites. Jacqui also mentioned that the group is really loving the Romero Center staff and all the reflection opportunities they're facilitating, helping the group draw connections and begin discussions that are challenging and fruitful.

WBA New Orleans: Leaders Kristen and Steve called after another tiring but great day at the group's two work sites, helping repair homes that have Hurricane Katrina flood damage. During the day, the group is keeping busy doing demolition, putting up drywall, and insulating the homes, and in the evening they are cooking with other Operation Helping Hands volunteers before sitting down to reflect. In their time off, the group has had a chance to explore the city--they loved Sunday mass with jazz music, and have had more than a few beignets--and also to take in the still-apparent devastation from Hurricane Katrina in the lower ninth ward.

WBA DC: Having conquered the Metro, leaders Matt and Leanne and the WBA DC group have now hit their stride. They are really enjoying their work at various food distribution centers, particularly in light of the SNAP food stamp challenge the group completed yesterday, which, by the sounds of it, was difficult but eye-opening. The group is also taking advantage of evening hours to do sightseeing and is looking forward to hearing some wonderful speakers and finally making it to the White House later in the week to round out their stay at The Pilgrimage.

WBA Honduras: Leaders John and Mel called after waking from an unplanned two hour siesta--it seems that working all morning in the bean fields, school, or kitchen and trying to keep up with the boys of Amigos de Jesus on the soccer field all afternoon is exhausting! The group is navigating the language and cultural barriers well, making friends and learning a great deal. They especially enjoyed a reflection faciliated by Amy and Wilson, who run Amigos de Jesus, which put them in the shoes of the Honduran boys they are working with. Nursing majors will have a chance to visit a Honduran clinic and the whole group will take a day trip to nearby indigenous ruins, so there is still a great deal the group is looking forward to.

Please continue to keep our participants in your thoughts and prayers!

Pictures from Day Three

All our WBA participants are hard at work here at the half way point in their trips! Here are some shots from our WBA domestic trips:

The men of WBA Camden make sure to wear their protective eye gear, while leader Chris conquers the site roof:

WBA DC put their (hairnet-clad) heads together at the start of another day at the DC area food pantry:

WBA New Orleans is hard at work repairing homes with flood damage:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Amigos de Jesus children love Saint Anselm students!

 We are expecting to hear from all groups on the phone by this evening, but in the meantime, Honduras had an internet connection and was able to send some pictures from their adventures with the children of the Amigos de Jesus orphanage. Above you see Alex and John with one of the Amigos boys.
 Jaime Orrego, Spanish professor, takes a moment to hear stories from two of the Amigos boys. What a blessing to have a native speaker on the trip!
 Andraya found a friend and they went exploring on the Amigos grounds.
The infamous game at Saint Anselm ... NINJA! Goes International! Cathy, Kate, and Annah teach the boys some Ninja...looks like Cathy is dominating! At least we know one thing...Love, Service, and Ninja know no borders!

New Orleans works hard but still finds time for fun!

 Steve Moran, the groups fearless leader, doesn't waste any time jumping in with the street performers in downtown New Orleans last Sunday.
An updated picture of all the hard work the group is doing on a home in NoLa. Keep up the good work, friends!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Building Community in New Orleans

Check out WBA NOLA hard at work at one of the Operation Helping Hands work sites:

Pictures from Honduras

WBA Honduras at Amigos de Jesus, their home and service site for the week:

Some of the WBA Honduras group getting a taste of agricultural work, picking beans:

Service Day 2

 Some WBA DC members look fabulous in their hairnets packing up food to be distributed to local families.
WBA Camden gets to work hanging signs at the Abigail House Nursing Home.
A Honduras report - Email update Monday 1/9/12 from Susan Gabert, Director of Campus Ministry.

"  Things are going amazingly. We stayed with Honduran families last night in pairs of 2 - it really had a tremendous impact on the group and our understanding of life in Honduras. We played soccer today - yes even me (if you wish to call it playing). The children are great and the group is really doing well regardless of their language skills. Today we worked in the Kitchen, in the school, and in agriculure picking beans - in the a.m. we played games and soccer in the afternoon. The nurses went to a clinic with Amy (our host) to bring some children for a check-up. This gave them teh opportunity to observe health care in a private honduran setting. Mike is taking special pictures for each of the kids for Amigos de Jesus. a few of us planned a meal that we are making on Wednesday, while others planned the school schedule for the rest of the week. Oh, yeah - on Sunday we went to Mass - it was a nice celebration of the Epiphany.
So much happening, so much to think about in such a short time. looking forward to more time with the kids and with work. Amy and Wilson have been amazing. tonight they spent time talking about Amigos and answering questions. It really helped the group get a better understanding and appreciation for thier work. "

Students at Romero Center seek Solidarity with those in Camden.

Update from the Romero Center students in Camden, NJ:
We just heard from Chris, our student leader, who reported that the group is all doing very well and learning a lot about the poverty in Camden and what they can do to be in solidarity with their struggles. Yesterday they split into 2 groups. Half served at an elderly rehabilitation center, and half at a homeless shelter. Both experiences provided opportunities to be present to the guests and hear their stories. Today, they are taking part in a Food Stamps project, where they break up into "families" of 4 and are given $12 total for their family's meals for the day. This is the amount families are provided through Food Stamps. They are truly entering into solidarity with those who live on these food stamps for their every meal. Please continue to keep the Camden group, and all our WBA groups in your prayers!

WBA DC's first day of work

 On their first day of work, half the WBA DC group went to Food & Friends...
...while the other half staffed Thrive DC.

Monday, January 9, 2012

WBA DC: taco night and sightseeing

 WBA DC ladies cook up some tacos...
...before the group heads off to visit the basilica!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WBA Camden has arrived!

After a long day of driving, WBA Camden has arrived at Romero Center Ministries, their service site for the week. They're unpacking and settling in before their program orientation later this evening!

Shopping in the name of service

As a part of their service opportunities at The Pilgrimage, WBA DC is taking place in a food stamp challenge--divided into families, the group will see if they can eat for three days on only what food stamps would buy them. From the looks of things after their recent trip to the grocery store, the group is excited to find out!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

DC Day 1, out and about!

WBA DC, enjoying some lunch in the park near The Pilgrimage.

WBA DC, taking in the capitol's sights at night.

WBA Honduras and New Orleans have arrived!

After a brief lay over in Orlando, where the group waved to Mickey Mouse, and a short detour to the Enterprise Rental Car counter the WBA New Orleans groups has arrived at Operation Helping Hands, their service site for the week. They are settling in, then off to hunt down some delicious beignets!

WBA Honduras also arrived safely, made it through customs, and successfully met up with their wonderful in-country host, Amy from Amigos de Jesus. Leader John assured me they were by-passing the Wendy's for some native Honduran food :)

WBA DC has arrived!

As you can see, WBA DC leader Matt was very excited to arrive at the Baltimore airport this morning! After a shuttle, an Amtrak train, and a ride on the DC metro, the whole DC group has arrived safely at The Pilgrimage, their service site for the week. They're off to tour their site and then hit the grocery store, but promise more picture messages to come!

Friday, January 6, 2012

WBA Departs soon!

Hello Friends and Family,

   Thank you for following our Winter Break Alternative trips on our blog! Our student leaders will be meeting shortly to regroup and go over last minute details. All students will be back on campus by 4pm today, and depart for the airport around 3:00am. Joycelin and Claire, from the Office of Campus Ministry, will be updating the blog when student groups arrive at their destinations, and will try to upload photos and stories as they are reported during the week. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the trips, you can reach Claire or Joycelin between 9am - 4pm at 603-641-7731 or 603-641-7170.

Bon Voyage, WBA!