After a long day of travelling, walking, eating, and reflecting, safe to say my heart is full in every which way. It has been a day of love in every way, shape, and form, and I’ll probably say this every day I’m here but I am so grateful for everything I have experienced so far.
We started out our day in North Carolina at our hotel, with continental breakfast which I can never pass up. Surprisingly enough, my room was awake at the crack of dawn with no complaints at all. We all ate our breakfast, quickly packed up, and off we were to our final destination – Sumter, South Carolina!
After hopping on the bus, it was smooth sailing all the way to American heaven…Walmart! It was a much more exciting drive than the previous day, as we passed through Charlotte, NC, a city that wasn’t “Population- 100.” After arriving at Walmart, we all scurried out of the bus to go get our PopTarts and other junk food that can only be bought in the USA. After scurrying through WalMart like children in a candy shop, some of us went out to the cutest sub place and had lunch there. We then proceeded to sit in a random grass spot in the middle of the parking lot to soak up the beautiful weather while others drove by and stared at us like we were crazy.
Next stop…Swan Lake. The name perfectly describes where we went today…a huge lake with 8 different species of swans. It was absolutely breathtaking, and walking around and actually sweating instead of being freezing cold was a nice change. We all took approximately 100 pictures of swans that probably all look the same, but a picture can say 1000 words. The memories we all made at beautiful Swan Lake are definitely ones to remember. Between selfies with swans, sitting on the bridge praying we wouldn’t fall off, and stepping in swan poop, I can confidently say Swan Lake lived up to its expectations.
Our next stop, which was our final destination, was the Church where we are staying for our stay here in Sumter. We were greeted at the Church by Theresa, the director of Habitat for Humanity in Sumter, who was eagerly awaiting our arrival. After lugging all our belongings up the stairs, it was time for a small orientation. Theresa essentially explained what was expected of us in terms of rules, safety, and other expectations. Once her short explanation was finished, we were off to dinner made by a gracious host from another Church.
This experience of being hosted at a Church was extremely rewarding, and definitely eye-opening in a sense. We were welcomed with open arms, kind attitudes, and genuinely beautiful people. My heart felt so full just walking into the Church and being greeted, never mind the experience as a whole. They had a table set up with flowers set up all along it, and dinner was ready for us to eat it. After eating out for the better half of two days, it was nice to have a home cooked meal made by such wonderful people. Before eating, we said a prayer which is something I’m not used to doing back home, but like I’ve mentioned before, made my heart full and content. I admire how passionate people are about their religion, and how gracious they are in sharing it with you. Definitely a moment I will never forget.
After dinner, it was time for dessert and group pictures. But…SURPRISE. We all got a priceless gift, which was Nadine, who we are building the home for. I knew coming into the trip how grateful I would be meeting who we were building the home for, so I was definitely excited to meet her on our first night here. Nadine was such a beautiful woman who seems so deserving of this home that we are building for her. Another cool thing is that Habitat for Humanity requires the potential home owners to actually partake in the building of their home. It creates a sense of pride since they’re putting in hard work and long hours to help create something that they’re going to eventually own.
We ended our day today with a group reflection back at the Church we’re staying at. This is something that I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but my mind instantaneously changed. Hearing how other people viewed the day, and essentially hearing it through their “lenses” changed my perspective on what happened, even though I was there experiencing it myself. Everyone has their own views, beliefs, and perspectives, and it really is a miraculous thing when all these thoughts come together in a group. It reinsured to me that this blog is important to my self growth, and I am looking forward to our nightly reflections.
Anyways, time for bed since we start building tomorrow (6:30am wake up call – oh no).