Interim Journals 2009
After a very uneventful trip we're settled in the lovely OR Tambo Hotel, attached to the Johannesburg Airport, and tomorrow morning we fly to Maputo. Armindo, our Volunteer Coordinator, will meet the team and travel with us up the coast to Chicuque. We should arrive in Vilanculos by Saturday afternoon at the latest. We're doing a lot of traveling, but it should be worth it! As soon as possible we'll be in touch again. Until then...
Hi! We are saftely in Vilanculos and settling in. We are all fine and in good spirits. We will email more updateson Monday when the i-cafe opens.
Bom dia or hello from Vilanculos, Mozambique.
We arrived in Vilanculos safe and sound on January 10. We were welcomed warmly by the church with beautiful singing and lunch. On Sunday we attended a beautiful worship service in the church and then spent some time playing at the beach. We are now settling in very well. We began work on the church on Monday and were joined by many church members. The pastor's children seem to be the favorite helpers.
The only draw back to our experience is that Vilanculos is currently having some technical difficulties, meaning that the internet is virtually inaccessible to us. This email was sent via favor. Armindo the amazing guide found a friend who let us use his computer. So if you haven't heard from your son or daughter do not fear. We are well. We are working hard, making friends, and enjoying Mozambican life.
Peace and love from the team.
Just checking in from Vilanculos! We finished our work and are saying our goodbyes.
We are now in Maputo. We finished painting the church, complete with a beautiful mural, on Wednesday. After we finished working, we shared a meal and a farewell service with many of the church members. Later on Wednesday we watched the presidential inauguration with some of our new friends from church and our friends at the hotel.
At 4am we said goodbye to Vilanculos and begin the 12 hour bus ride to Maputo. We were welcomed with smiles and delicious food when we arrived at the United Methodist guest house in Maputo.
Today our amzaing guide Armindo lead us through the city. We saw some of the sites, such as the Prime Minister's building, the Cathedral, the seat of the city government, and Fortaleza (an old colonial). We also visited the post office, buying stamps and mailing postcards back home. Then we braved the mercado (market), where we haggled for such treasures as carved masks, bracelets, mangos, and an exciting new fruit, litchi.
We will be in Maputo until Saturday when we embark on the next stage of our journey. We will on our way to Kruger Park in South Africa. The team sends love and best wishes.
January 9, 2009
Greetings from San Francisco!
We arrived safely into San Francisco on Wednesday night around 6:00 pm, eager in our hearts to begin though perhaps a bit physically drained from the day of travel. After getting settled into the hostel at Fort Mason, we passed out in our beds, mentally preparing for our first day at Glide and the 6 am wake-up that awaited us on Thursday morning.
Waking up to the cold darkness on Thursday morning was a definite change for many of us who were used to quite a different sleep schedule over the holiday break. Regardless, we awoke and made our way to begin our work at Glide. Instead of starting out in the actual serving of meals, we worked in the back preparing food for later meals. Some of us stacked bread and eggs into crates. Many of us snapped huge crates of green beans. Even a few of us got to experience the joys (and tears) of cutting onions. After our food preparation was done, we met with Glide worker Lache who asked us to reflect on our initial expressions of Glide and the work that we had done. After the mini orientation session, we got our bus passes and made our hungry bellies over to a nearby Thai restaurant. We had some extra time before returning to Glide where we took our first cable car ride over to the Cable Car Museum. Nearby was Chinatown where we roamed the streets and shops, looking at all the knick-knacks and cultural divide from the rest of the city. Quickly, we have come to the realization that the mountainous sidewalks here make BSC look like a cakewalk (I think many of us have quickly learned that we may have thought we were.)
After hiking around, we returned to Glide for a tour of Glide's services provided by James who was very helpful in answering our questions and giving us an understanding of the relationship between Glide's principles and actual services. We walked first over to the Cecil Williams' Community House, which is a 52 unit supportive housing development for men, women, and children, receiving services related to mental health issues, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and those with physical disabilities. The building is very nice and meant to empower its residents and show the community their belief and investment in the residents. We then made our way over to The Janice Mirikitani Family, Youth, and Childcare Center (FYCC) where we saw the services, such as licensed childcare and after-school programs for children and youth. Later on, next week, we will be working over there with some of the children in the programs. After noticing our tiresome eyes, James advised us to get back and we will finish touring the rest of Glide's services later in the week. We returned to the hostel from some amazing homemade mac and cheese, reflected for the experiences of our first full day, and got some much needed rest.
As we woke up on our second day, we were quite excited to begin our first day of serving meals and having interaction with people. The majority of us piled pancakes, fruit, bread, sausage, and grits on the platters and became quite an efficient assembly line. Hannah got to help clean up the tables and bring fresh coffee and milk to those receiving meals. After the lines closed at 9 am, our group, along with a student group from Hendrix College, cleaned up the room and we were served a hearty breakfast by Bruce. After finishing our humongous breakfast, we were fortunate to meet with the leader of the Women's Center. This is Glide's newest service which began in 1999 in order to bring direct help to women who live on the streets or who are currently/formerly in unstable housing situations. 99.5% of the women who participate in these services have dealt with some form of domestic violence at some point in their life. The girls will have the opportunity to sit in and participate in the Women's Center's “Women on the Move” support group sessions next week.
After returning from our second day of Glide, many of us were ready to get a quick nap in. We woke up, renewed and ready to explore the city. Many visited Fisherman's Wharf for the first time and watched the sea lions bask and make interesting noises on Pier 39. Allison, Katelyn, Hannah, Simone, and myself ventured over to the City Lights Bookstore, which was a popular spot for Beatnik writers. After some coffee, we ventured back for a potato dinner and treated ourselves to Ghirardelli desert (and convinced ourselves that we will walk off the large sundaes in the coming days.) Tomorrow we will serve breakfast again at Glide. We also plan on perhaps taking a trip to Alcatraz and going to see the movie Milk after dinner. We look forward to the adventures that await!
Oh, and for anyone interested in learning more about Glide's services, you can visit the website at http://www.glide.org.
Also, Katelyn Hancock, our team photographer, is periodically posting pictures on Facebook so you can view some of them here.
Peace & Love from San Fran,
San Francisco Team Chronicler
January 11, 2009
Shalom from San Fran!
I come to you after a very restful, yet exciting Sunday. First, however, I will take a step back to our Saturday happenings. We had an early morning start on Saturday where we served breakfast at Glide. Hunter, Katelyn, Allison, Simone, Kristin, Dr. Tatter, and I manned a well-oiled assembly line in the serving line. Katie helped pick-up dirty trays and attend to the needs of those we served. Hannah, Miriam, and Amy had some fun with the food preparation of chicken; Miriam even had an interesting (perhaps even slightly traumatic) encounter with a chicken and its foot.
After all had gone through the lines, we all helped with clean-up and were served another hearty breakfast by David. When lunch was over, we split up and took separate adventures.
Kristin, Katelyn, Katie, Amy, Hunter, Miriam, Hannah, and I made our way over to the famous Haight Street. There some of us were wowed by the impressive Amoeba Record Store as well as the always exciting Anarchist Bookstore. Hannah, Miriam, and Hunter ventured over to a park in the Presidio area, which offered some breathtaking views of the city. Dr. Tatter (or “John”, as we are all slowly moving towards) explored the Castro. Allison also ventured off and visited the Palace of Fine Arts.
Many of us got an afternoon nap in at the hostel before we headed over to see a showing of Milk, the story of Harvey Milk – the first openly homosexual elected politician in the United States (from San Francisco.) We then had dinner at Mel's Diner and returned to the hostel to get some sleep.
This morning we were fortunate enough to wake up around 8:30 am (a definite departure from the 5 am wake-ups over the past few mornings – we didn't know what to do with ourselves when we woke up to sunlight!) We all attended Glide's Celebration Sunday Service, which was truly filled with celebration and a very positive, inclusive energy.
Afterward, Hannah and Miriam stayed for speakers who were on site to discuss vocational opportunities. Katie, Katelyn, Hunter, Amy, Dr. Tatter, and I ventured over to Fisherman's Wharf for a fishy (yet delicious) lunch. Simone toured through the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Many returned back to the hostel for a relaxing afternoon of personal reflection in the nearby park. Dr. Tatter, Amy, Katelyn, and I then made what has been described as the best dinner to date, Amy's family's jambalaya. We then had reflection time and passed out in our bed, preparing for a full day of work at the San Francisco Food Bank tomorrow.
Peace & Love,
San Francisco Team Chronicler
January 15, 2009
Bienvienidos from San Francisco!
I hear that weather in Birmingham has been a bit chilly (that might even be an understatement), but I am happy to report that we have had nothing, but beautiful weather here. As Hannah put it, we brought the sunshine here!
Since the last entry, we have been busy, busy bees! On Tuesday, we had a bit of a break in the morning before we served dinner at Glide. Waking up to daylight was a welcome change for many of us. “The Full House Intro Hill” has been a highly anticipated site for many, and Amy, Simone, Katie, and Hunter were finally able to go over and explore. Some took a morning of relaxation and got their laundry done. I personally decided to venture through the posh stores of Union Square, explored the Castro, and successfully located the small alley where three little women make fortune cookies. We then met at Glide in the afternoon to finish our tour of the facilities. The recently remodeled Health Clinic on the top floor was a very impressive site. After being spectators, it was then time for us to work the dinner shift, which was somewhat challenging due to the huge influx of volunteers (space was quite limited.) We then returned to the hostel for reflection and some needed rest.
Wednesday was perhaps our busiest day yet. We returned to our wake-up when it's still dark outside schedule and helped serve breakfast in the morning. A welcome change was a shift in the radio station and many of us kept our spirits up by belting out the classics (just ask Katelyn anytime you want to hear Christina Aguilera's “Beautiful”.) After serving breakfast, we had an hour break to explore stores around Market Street. Seeing as the group is almost all girls, we did what we do best…shop! We then returned to Glide to help serve lunch. Following lunch came time for our talk with Marselle, who coordinates the HIV prevention and outreach programs at Glide. When I say talk, I probably should emphasize that this was definitely a very open talk that tested many of our comfort levels. We also were given a lovely demonstration by Dr. Tatter (or, as the brave here say, “J Tat”) who deserves a pat on the back. After our talk, we headed over to Raphael's House, which is a local shelter for families that is currently run by BSC graduate Father David. In fact, two BSC sophomores, Marian Bradshaw and Chelsea Tanous contracted their own Interim and are currently staying and volunteering there so they were able to show us around the facilities. It was v very interesting to see a facility that fills particular needs that are on a different level than the experiences we have encountered in serving meals. After talking with Father David, we joined the families that stay there for a dinner that made many of us feel like we were back home, so it was a very nice end to the busy day.
While some (including myself) have run into a little trouble with colds and sinus difficulties, Kristin's Nettie pot has helped out greatly, as did getting to sleep in today. We woke up at our own pace and arrived at Glide around 11:15 to serve lunch. Today was Glide's famous fried chicken day, which meant crazy chaos in the food lines. Keeping up with the demand of the lines was challenging for our newly seasoned assembly line, but we were able to fill the need and afterward enjoy a hearty lunch, though, as Katie put it, they haven't see anything until they try some Southern fried chicken. Following lunch, we made a pit stop by the Happy Donut (which, surprise, surprise, made many of us happy) and headed over to the FYCC to look over some kids in the after-school program. This experience was definitely enriching because there is so much you can learn from children. I can definitely speak for Hunter, Kristin, and myself who had some eye-opening situations with the 1st and 2nd graders. We played with them in the park and sadly Amy, Katie, and Katelyn spent the majority of playtime in tag “jail.” After working with the kids for nearly three hours, some decided to head back to the hostel to relax. Katelyn, Miriam, Hunter, Simone, and I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and explored all that it had to offer (which I believe that the general consensus was two thumbs up.) Katie and Amy got dinner and explored Fisherman's Wharf. Thus, all –in-all, it has been a pretty successful day. Tomorrow we will be serving breakfast, taking a mid-day break, and then working at the FYCC with the kiddies again. Thus, resting up for tag is a must so I think I'll make like a banana and split.
Until next time, hope you have a blessed day!
San Francisco Chronicler