Now, I’ve never seen the musical “Oklahoma,” but I know a couple of songs from it, like “Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City” (and of course, the Oooo-klahoma one).
How this relates to my life? Well, on Friday, I took part in the Fontbonne In Service and Humility (or F.I.S.H., but more commonly written just as “FISH”) Service Trip to the Kansas City area. The song from “Oklahoma” gets raunchier towards the end, but it’s the only song I know about Kansas City, so it’s been in my head all week.
Anyway, the trip was an absolute landslide of fun times with new and old friends, and I’m really glad I went! We did some rigorous-but-fun manual labor on the trip that included cleaning up an urban farm (my group made about thirty five-foot-tall tomato “cages” out of chicken wire in the course of a morning), packaging huge bins of canned goods and peanut butter jars into boxes (which takes a lot of stamina when you’re doing it for hour after hour), and sorting tiles, constructing a trim rack, pricing blinds, and picking up trash at the Kansas City ReStore, part of the Habitat for Humanity organization. The group also conducted a Litter Index Survey in the area, and although driving around to evaluate areas on their cleanliness was not exactly physically difficult, the job was really rough on our sunny dispositions thanks to getting lost quite often. As my car’s navigator, I take a lot of the blame for the fact that my group went WAY off course and ended up in Saint Joseph, MO, when we were supposed to be staying in Kansas City. Whoops.
When we weren’t working, the group was eating great food from the moms and grandmas of the group chaperones – we had spaghetti one night, and Kansas City barbeque the next! It was great! We also visited the Liberty Memorial, which is the national memorial for World War I, and the Plaza, an outdoor shopping area with a FOUR-LEVEL Barnes and Noble. How cool is that???
What really made the trip a success were the people who went on it. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone in the group – there were thirteen of us, and we played card games or Banana-grams every night we were there! I had come into the trip knowing three or four people from various things, but by the end of the trip, I’d made great connections with new people, and “solidified the bonds,” as my friend called it, with the ones I had known at the beginning.
We stayed in a cabin on the edge of the woods, and on the first morning, there were deer outside! On the way to the service sites and Sunday Mass, we got to see several beautiful sunrises from the Kansas City hillside. One night, we went to a campfire that our “neighbors,” a group from Cincinnati, Ohio, also on a service trip, were having. We met them when they dropped by bearing cookies, so we returned the favor and took them a pie!
Among the myriad of humorous moments on the trip came on Sunday morning. A group of us had gone into town to attend the 8 a.m. Mass at a Catholic church, and after the service, a old woman came over to our leader and said “You have such a lovely set of daughters!”
In short, this service trip was an incredibly-fun way to spend part of my spring break, and I’m so very glad I went!