Upon arriving in Marianna, Florida we were greeted by the long term Mennonite Disaster Service volunteers. After being introduced to crew leaders, cooks, and an office manager we were given a rundown of what a typical work day looked like. It consisted of waking up at 6:15 a.m to make lunch and be ready for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. At 8:00 am we departed for a day of work and did not come back home until 5:00 p.m. Before breakfast we often said a prayer and after breakfast someone could do a devotion. One of the devotions given was by Don Yoder. It stuck with me because of its emphasis on teamwork. He presented a wooden box, on the outside it looked so pretty and smooth. Upon looking inside of it you could see all the tiny wooden pieces that the box was made of. Don spoke about all the pieces being so necessary. If one was taken out, the box could collapse. All those pieces worked together to make something so beautiful. This is how important all the volunteers were at Marianna as well. We all needed to really work together to get these houses done and built. If we were missing one person that put us behind. An example is that the first day on the job site, a group of people spent 5 hours painting siding under the hot sun. This was really tiring for them as they were drained of energy from the heat. Once the siding was dry our crew leader measured and then cut the siding into the correct sizes. Then the two people up on the scaffolding nailed it to the house. It was a back and forth process where we helped each other get closer and closer to finishing. Each and every one of us played a big part in getting many of the houses ready for the people. Unfortunately, we did not finish the house and many of us felt a feeling of sadness over it. As we were not going to see the final product of it. We had been able to see all the progress we had made on the house which included siding, flooring, painting, putting up doors, and much more. Another group would come and finish it, but we were still such a big part of finishing the house. We had the privilege of making an impact and getting the owner of the house one step closer to finally being able to have a home. There’s no better feeling of happiness and satisfaction than knowing we made our lives more meaningful by helping those that truly needed it.
Written by: Joise Favila-Castillo