Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Variety is the Spice of Life

Kim and Maria packing powdered milk for distribution

Day 5 in Immokalee:
Today our group split into separate factions once more.  Half of the girls worked with Habitat for Humanity, while the remainder returned to Guadalupe Social Services for the morning, and then volunteered at an after-school program for junior high school students in the afternoon.  Like all of our experiences thus far, these encounters proved to be interesting, rewarding, and informative.  During dinner at Lake Trafford, we chatted about our experiences throughout the day.  The group that worked with Habitat for Humanity spent their time laying tiles in a new home that was being built for an Immokalee family.  ** The other group spent their time doing a variety of tasks at Guadalupe Social Services.  Some of the girls bagged food items, while others were able to observe cases.** Guadalupe Social Services is a branch of Catholic Charities, and provides financial assistance, food items, and immigration assistance, among other things.  It was intriguing to hear the stories and perspectives of the individuals working at the center, and to catch a glimpse into the lives of those who sought aid from this organization.  At the tutor program, we were able to help Immokalee juniors fill out applications for summer college programs.   This curious group of adolescents also had general inquiries about college, choosing a major, and getting financial aid.  It was very gratifying to be able to help them, even if it was for a short amount of time. 
Over a dinner of tamales, salsa, and fresh fruit salad, we also discussed some of the broader issues that we have encountered so far throughout the trip.  Last night, we invited a group of students from St. Thomas to dine with us, and also had a guest visitor named Sr. Maureen, who is a Catholic nun and immigration attorney.  She gave an awesome talk about the many obstacles involved in immigration, as well as the intricacies and complexities of U.S. immigration law.  This evening we reflected on the things that we have seen and learned so far, and discussed our perspectives on the situation in Immokalee.  Overall, these past five days have been enlightening and rewarding for our group, and we look forward to the next three days here in Immokalee.
-Maria Petrisko, Senior 

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