A Very Hectic Day

Today , well today was interesting. Some of us were on our way to Catahoula Bay to plant trees in a marshy area. The drive was and hour and a half and about an hour in it started to downpour. We stopped at a gas station to fill up and decided to wait out the storm. After another hour and a half of thunder and lightening we decided to call it and head back to common ground. We were extremely disappointed  that we were not able to get to go into the swamp but obviously we did not want to risk our safety, especially since our boat was made of metal. The ones that stayed behind helped out around common ground. They also went to a mans house to help plant trees, which was tiring especially in the rain. 

Tomorrow we have a free day and we are going on our bayou tour and get to go to the zoo!!!!

Mas Construccion !

Buenos Dias!

Yesterday we woke up ready and eager to start day two of construction. We were super sore but it felt good to know that we are making a difference! A few of us got up and had a yoga session to get our joints moving again and it was a great way to start off the day. The ladies cooked us breakfast again and they made us pinapple pancakes. I  have never seen pinapple put in pancakes before but now no pancake will ever be the same. It was muy sabrosa, or delicious!  After breakfast we were met by our crew from yesterday, Timoteo, Miguel and Eduardo and left for the construction sites. We didnt completely finish our patio yesterday so four of us went with Miguel to finish that, while the rest of the group followed Timotao to the new location. We worked on building the patio until about 1:00pm until we went to lunch at a farmer’s house.At lunch you could tell that we were all getting pretty tired, but we came together and pep talked ourselves back up. What really motivated me to keep going was knowing that before we even began this morning, Timotao was picking coffee for a few hours prior to construction. These people work so hard for so many hours,but are still so completely happy about it. After lunch, our group of four re-joined the others at the new site, which was building a wall. At the new location there were two coffee patios that were old and broken basketball courts. There was a large crack in between the two where the wall was being assembled. This made us feel really good about the patio we built yesterday because we saw what they had to use instead of a coffee patio and it was not a good set up. Building the wall consisted of lots more teamwork. We had to mix more concrete, carry cinder blocks, and measure and stack the blocks too. Karissa was put on machete duty and got to cut the blocks with the machete. It was hilarious to watch. This station really tested our working together skills but it was tons of fun. We worked hard all the way until 5:00pm when we were done for the day. We said our goodbyes to Timotao, who stayed to keep working. We will all really miss him, he is the man.  After two days of hard construction, I dont think we could have been more tired. Which makes me feel even worse, because these guys do this every day. We were sunburned and sore but we knew that meant we worked hard. We ran home to shower quickly before dinner with another family. Dinner is always at 6pm but today it was approaching 6:30 and no one had come to get us yet. Just then, the pizza delivery guy pulled up and we were told that we had a surprise movie and pizza night. This was SUCH good news because we were really dragging at this point. Some of us ran to the tienda and got some chips and soda and the movie night began. We hooked up a projector and watched a movie before crashing at about 9pm. Nicole had one more surprise for us, she had secretly contacted our friends and loved ones and they had all written us notes. It was the best surprise ever and I don’t think any of us have ever smiled that much.  Many thanks to all of you who sent us some encouragement. It was a much needed piece of home!


Today we are off to work with some artisans. There is a group doing wood working, one with iron work and one with textiles. We just had some fantastic breakfast of eggs, beans and salsa and are now preparing to leave. We also have a market scavenger hunt in the afternoon and some time to shop.


Hasta luego mis amigos!






Our mangos from the other day 


Ann and Timotao and I


Our finished coffee patio!

SAM_1831 SAM_1833

We got to put our hand prints and initials in the cement!


SAM_1837 SAM_1838 SAM_1842   SAM_1843

Day 4: Hiking and Hugs

Even though we say this every day. Today was the best day ever. Hiked a mountain, had lunch with an awesome OYE family, worked on our projects, and enjoyed dance lessons from Oscar :)

We are sending virtual hugs back to our family and friends, thanks for all the support you show us! Here are some “shout outs” 

“Howdy family! Please enjoy me as much as you can while I am home because it won’t be for long. This trip has sparked a rapid passion withim me to grow and experience the world to the fullest. Give Gracey a cheeseburger and let her sleep on the couch. XOXO -Teegan.”

“Hello family! I’m still alive! I love it here and I found my place in the world. With that in mind, won’t be coming home :) I love you guys! I’m sorry if I keep talking to you in Spanish when I return. Also, I will be bearing gracious gifts from Honduras!! Until we meet again! -Gracie (see you Sunday)”

“Shout out to my parents because of the perfect combination of genetics, I am unbelieveably proud to be your daughter. I would not have faith in myself or my dreams without you. Wherever I go, you are with me. Love you. To my two best friends that became my sisters, thank you for encouraging and pushing me to take this trip. I am so lucky to have my partners in crime also be my biggest fans. Love you Emma and Mira. -Steph”

“Hola familia! Having such an amazing experience! Beyond excited to share everything with you all! I would definitely not be where I am today without the unconditional love and support from you guys. Miss and love you all so much! -Allie”

“Hi Mom and Brucie! First of all, I love you both so much. Thank you for investing so much time and effort into making me push my self to the absolute max by always believing in me. I can’t wait to come back home and tell you about this amazing experience I am getting here. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the two of you. Love you both so much and I hope you know how much you both mean to me! Love you lots -Samantha”

“Mom and Dad, thank you for your never-ending support, especially when it comes to adventures like this. Drew, I’ve met amazing people but you are still my best friend and I can’t wait to see you. Grandma and Grandpa, you are both well aware that without you most things I’ve done would not have been possible (because you had my mom. No just kidding, because you want me to get the most out of every opportunity I have in life). I am so grateful. -Bailee”

“Hey mom and dad!!! Thank you for the letter!! It made me smile as usual. I’m so grateful to have you as parents to support me on this trip and through life. I am having the most amazing weeks of my life and I can’t wait to tell you all about it on Sunday! I love you to the moon and back. Love your baby girl. -Jayna

“Madre and Padre, thanks for letting me go, cause for real was expecting you to call me the day before and forbide me to go. So now you just have to deal with the fact that I’m never coming back. Ops. Maybe you guys can finally get a dog. LOVE YOU! -Ashlee”

“Hi Mom!  Hi Dad!  I’m alive.  Your still not allowed to Google anything until I get home!  Mom- I’ve tried all the food and left every meal full!  To all the other moms and dads and the Reeve team:  Thank you for your courage and trust to let your student get this once in a lifetime experience!  I can validate that they are all alive, happy, healthy, safe, and well-fed.  They are also amazing young women!  Thank you! -Missy”



Day Five

Much like yesterday we went around the ninth ward and beautified the area. We split off into two groups; one group went and planted trees in the nieghbors yards. Four of us got to talk to one lady and her friend not so much about how their experience with the hurricane but they were very intrigued with the idea that we had snow currently in Wisconsin. The other group went around to some of the empty lots and cut grass, cleared long grasses etc. 

Today we also got to go to the Jefferson Parrish Animal Shelter and see a bunch of animals. We all got to hold puppies and walk some of the dogs. The shelter is unique in the fact that if you want to adopt one the cost is only $67 to adopt any of the animals. That $67 covers nudering and the first round of vaccinations. We did not want to put those puppies down! The rest of the time we went and helped clean cages  and walked some of the dogs.

Tonight was the one night where we knew a few months in advance that the New Orleans Pelicans were going to have a home game. We split up and seven of us went to the game while the other three went out to the garden district to get ice cream! 


Tuesday in NYC

Hi everyone! This is Melani this time!


We had another full busy day today in NYC!  We did a lot of walking again today, 11.7 miles according to my fitbit! We started off as two groups today. Half of us went to New Jersey to go to Carlo’s Bakery, a bakery featured on the show Cake Boss. The group I went with went for a walk through Central Park. We are staying at the YMCA which is right on the edge of Central Park, so it was a nice way to spend our morning. The weather was really the nicest that we’ve had all week. Here’s a picture we took in Central Park this morning.



After breakfast, we all met up again, we went to GMHC to help out prepare for their annual AIDS walk. This is a big event  that takes place every year. It is a huge fundraising event for them, and really builds support and awareness for their cause. Today we helped them by stuffing folders. Every team who requested promotional materials to put out in their organizations in the community gets a folder full of posters, cards to hand out, displays for the cards, and even bookmarks promoting the event. They can request a certain amount of each material, so we went through and basically built their custom orders. It was a pretty cool process. I never really realized how much work went into promoting an event of this size. We did this all day, and  STILL had plenty of orders left afterwards. It was really incredible how much work this organization puts into such an important cause.



In the afternoon, we grouped up with our friends with the University of Missouri to work on more folders. They are also here on an Alternative Spring Break Trip, so it was really cool to get to talk with them and make new friends!

After GMHC, we went over to the 9/11 Memorial. That was an incredible experience, to say the least! It was So beautiful and breathtaking, and emotional. There really are not words to describe how it made me feel. The people who designed and built it did an amazing job of preserving the memory of those lost on that day.




I think the most moving part of the whole experience was seeing the names of all the lives lost. It was incredibly sad, and really put the vastness of our loss that our country experienced that day into perspective for all of us. Another inspiring aspect of the memorial is the Survivor Tree.




This is the only tree that survived the bombings. The fact that this tree was able to survive such a traumatic event that brought down two huge metal towers is quite unfathomable. After the fact, conditions were not ideal for this tree, so it needed help to survive. People pitched in and helped it grow. They protected it during the aftermath clean up, they supported it and watered it, and protected it even during construction of the monument. With the love and care of the people around it, this tree was able to overcome the obstacles thrown at it. It is able to thrive and stand tall. That is a very powerful message.


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