Houston – Sophomore Class By Tommy Collins
After arriving at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and taking a 40 minute bus ride to our hotel, it was a hard to imagine that little over a year ago this city was hit by a massive hurricane. However, as we got further from the urban center, the echo of disaster became visible. Most of the areas that are still in disarray are the low income areas. One of the homeowners we met had received money from FEMA after the hurricane. He hired a contractor to fix his roof with that money, but the contractor took the money and ran. This kind of story was common in the neighborhoods we worked in. For some of these homeowners, the only hope to save their home is through organizations like SBP who rely on volunteers like our SDJA students to help them rebuild.
The students worked at three different work sites restoring and building homes. Their work included putting up drywall, installing insulation, doing interior trim, caulking, and painting. After working long days the students spent evenings bonding at eclectic vegetarian dinner spots such as Govinda’s Indian Cuisine (which was next to a Krishna Consciousness Temple). Another night it was a Jewish Deli, and another night a pizza/pasta buffet that had arcade games like the Corvette Diner here in San Diego. In addition to our service work, we had the opportunity to visit some of Houston’s well know destinations such as the NASA Space Center and the Holocaust Museum Houston.
It was a busy and educationally rich trip.
During the final evening, students gathered in the hotel lobby for a deep discussion and reflection on their experiences. The comments by the students were insightful, you can watch them in the video linked below. It was clear that they were positively impacted by being in an environment far from their home and comfort zone, challenging themselves, working together as a team, and helping people in need.
Sophomore Reflections https://www.dropbox.com/s/r4wlt9xvd54gjgd/Houston%20Student%20Reflections%203.mp4?dl=0