Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tales of New York

There is no way I could write about all that I did and saw while in New York.  Well, I could, but it would take a long time.  So I'm going to give you one or two pictures from each day and try to summarize as best as possible.

Sunday, March 6th  -  Oh the joys of meeting at 3:00am, loading up in the rain, and cramming 13 college students into a van, but that's how last Sunday started out.  We drove for about 12 hours and finally arrived in Brooklyn, where it was pouring.  We unloaded, met the staff we'd be working with for the week, and headed out to dinner before calling it a night.

Hanging out at the church we stayed at.
Monday, March 7th -  I didn't take any pictures this day, but we went on our prayer tour of the city.  We visited 3 of the 5 boroughs: Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.  We ended the tour by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge!

Tuesday, March 8th - We spent the morning at a food pantry, mainly helping sort and shelf food items.  We ate lunch in Central Park where we started a riot between the ducks and seagulls.  Then we spent the afternoon in Harlem.  We were given a list of places to find, people to talk to and certain questions to ask them.  We were also given $10 and told to help someone in need.

In Central Park

On the Subway, heading to Grand Central Station I think
Wednesday, March 9th -  We were at a clothing bank in the beginning of the day.  We folded, sorted, and bundled clothes that had been donated, which would be distributed to other area shelters.  That afternoon we did something called Neighborhood Immersion.  We started out at Grand Central Station in groups of six.  We were given a street to find and then once we got there, we had another series of questions to find answers to.  We were also given $2 per person to get dinner, and we had to provide dinner for someone else we met there.  The main catch was that we were completely on our own.  In the past we always had a CSM staff member with us, to help us get to where we needed to go, but not this time!  It was just me and five students, on our own in Greenwich Village!  We met a men named Keith who sold used books from a table on the sidewalk, and we talked with him for a while.  Later we decided we would just buy a large pizza and asked him if he wanted to share it with us, which he was very eager to do.  While we ate, standing outside in the cold, I learned that when he was 23 (he's probably in his late 50's now) he was a broker on Wall Street and made $62,000 a year.  Then he became addicted to cocaine, lost his job, and became homeless; it was a very touching story.

Someone found a baby shoe in the mud.
Thursday, March 10th - We spent the day at a church in Harlem.  They have a back lot that has been overlooked and more or less turned into a dumping ground for the people who live nearby.  We completely cleaned out the lot, which was full of scrap metal, overgrown shrubs, shingles that had blown off the roof, shoes, you name it, it was probably in there.  Once it was all cleared, we planted daffodils.  And now that we've cleaned it out, they'll be able to turn it back into the beautiful garden that it used it be!

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