Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Day of Different Neighborhoods

Day 2: The Beach!
Our day started at 6.30.  Two early days in a row was kind of hard, but completely worth it.  We attended a Spanish mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Immokalee.  At the church we attended, 4 out of the 5 masses offered on the weekends are in Spanish.  As we filed in the pews, lively music was being played with a Hispanic edge.  The church was filled with mostly Hispanic people, with very few people of other races present.  As you looked around the church, you saw the Stations of the Cross.  The Stations were different than the ones I’ve seen at Duquesne, and most of the other Catholic Churches I have visited in the United States.  Above the typical “Station” images of a Caucasian Christ were various images of modern day people working, mainly Hispanic, who were seen...bleh
During the sign of peace, the parishioners of the church welcomed us with smiles and warm handshakes.  It was impossible to feel like an outsider after that, even though we clearly were new and had never been to the church before.

After mass, we headed to Ave Maria, which is a Catholic community that contains a university, coffee shops, hair dressers, and a grocery store, among other shops.  The members of the community never really have to leave because they have everything they needed there.  We got coffee and pastries at The Bean of Ave Maria.  In this coffee shop were pictures of various Catholic saints and popes.  The staff of the shop was friendly enough, but the atmosphere left something to be desired.  After talking when we got back in the van, the consensus among the group was that we all felt like outsiders. There were many stares accompanied by our arrival and exit of the coffee shop.  We were amazed at how developed this community was.  The buildings were beautiful and new.  There was no noticeable poverty in this neighborhood, and no noticeable diversity in the population.

-Typical Home in Naples-

Once we finished our coffee, we headed to Naples, which is one of the richest cities in the US.  Naples shares the same county as Immokalee (and Ave Maria- yes , the University is officially a town), which is one the poorest cities in Florida.  Naples is full of beautiful and big houses.  The yards and landscaping surrounding the homes and businesses were in pristine condition.  There were many people exercising outdoors, more so than we had seen in Immokalee and Ave Maria.  The beach was beautiful.  The water was cold and refreshing.  It was nice to relax and people watch.  Some people walked to the pier, and other people just hung out and read books they brought.  After several hours, we went to a restaurant for dinner.  When we told our waiter that we were volunteering in Immokalee, his immediate response was, “Oh, Immokalee, that is the place with really cheap produce!”  I wonder if he ever thought about why the produce was so cheap. 

-Students on Naples Pier watching the sunset-

We finished the day by driving around parts of Immokalee, and saw the parking lots where farm workers wait for work every morning at 4am.  Tomorrow we will be waking up to see the workers congregate and wait for work.  I think it will be a really interesting and eye opening experience for a lot of people on the trip.

Until tomorrow!
- Kim Daley

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