July 15th, 2013
Hello all! I am back from a week from the Quad, working back and forth across the Mississippi River, in the collection of towns making up the Quad Cities. I have been chilling this past weekend and getting back into the daily routine, and I think I can finally reflect on this past week.
We left a week ago Sunday, and drove 5 hours to reach Quad Cities. Upon arrival, you could already tell it was going to be a hot week. We were more southern, and the more west you get, the more drier it gets as well, but we were ready. The first night I already knew what my projects were going to be for the week, and for Monday and Tuesday, I’d be working in a community center that dealt with seniors and mentally disabled. For Thursday and Friday, I would be working in a neighborhood in Davenport that had a food pantry, clothing closet, shelters, and community gardens. Between these days, we stayed in the basement of a Church, sleeping on air mattresses in crammed bible school rooms. I was ready to take it on.
The first two days of my trip consisted of working at an adult-daycare community center. We kept the elderly company, played cards and serviced them at the best of our abilities. On Tuesday, I spent time in a location of the Community Center known as “The Unit” which was for the lower functioning of the clients that came daily. Most of them either had dementia, or Alzheimer’s and I kept company with them and helped them through lunch and so on. The woman on the left in the photo above’s name is Evelyn. She didn’t say much and kept to herself, but she smiled at anything I asked and I couldn’t have appreciated more helping her for the day, even if she didn’t have much to say.
For the second half of the week, we spent it in a neighborhood in Davenport. The neighborhood features a clothing closet, food pantry, food kitchen, and community garden along with shelters. These amenities to the area are a lot thanks to the works of Sr. Marilyn (pictured above, lower right). Sr. Marilyn is a nun who moved to this area sixteen years ago to do works throughout the church order, a feminist ahead of her time I think! She spoke to us about how the area had much higher crime when she arrived and on the same street these services are now, used to have an after hours club. I got the vibe that it used to be a lot rougher. She definitely has turned this neighborhood around and I have mad respect for her.
I felt that out of the mission trips I have attended throughout high school, I definitely learned the most from the community rather then from the works done at the sites I was assigned. We met a boy Johnny(pictured above) who lived in the neighborhood we were working in. He loved piggy back rides, and he was there waiting in the community garden, waving to us as we came in for our second day of work. He was so smart and at one point said he would rather help then go play! To see the potential of the youth in that area puts hope in your heart that he will seek positive influences as he grows up.
On the other hand, we also observed the life of poverty firsthand in Quad Cities. At the clothing closet, we were handing out clothes and met a woman who was expecting a child in January, and lived in a PARKING GARAGE. She was in fact at the clothing closet looking for clothes for her child. There were others coming by for clothes, and we had to turn them away due to the fact that we didn’t have clothing in their size because they are donated. Their attitude involved walking away with smiles and “better luck next time.” They live these lives every day, and it really puts things into perspective.
I could go on about the fact that I am so fortunate for the lifestyle I live compared to those less fortunate in Quad Cities, but I would be lying if I said that was the only thing I took away from Quad Cities.
The thing that adhered to me the most was the fact that there was such a diverse group of people that made up these communities that are overlooked by society, yet have so much potential and worth in this world. The fact that these people keep heads held high, and live a way more positive life then I and have offered up so much more wise advice, I can’t thank Quad Cities enough for that. I spiritually feel balanced with what I experienced and saw the past week, and the hope is that I can take what I learned and can spread it through my own community.
I hope you found something inspiring at least once somewhere through this post and I hope it inspires you to give back, and see the most you can get out of people rather then labeling them poor. I know I will be trying to as well. Have a good one readers! xxoo