So I'm back for a limited time -- until Saturday, specifically -- at which time I head off for camp in Montana. Yay! Camp!
New Mexico was really f*&%ing hot. Nice language for describing a church trip, right? Actually, it wasn't as bad as all that. In fact, it was like staying at the Four Seasons, compared to previous years spent in Juarez. We were on the campus of what used to be a boarding school, but is now just a regular private school. And when I say private school, I'm not talking fancy like say, Hogwarts. Although wouldn't THAT have been an awesome place to do fix-ups? Yes. Anyway. It's a lower priced private school that is essentialy the one place where kids from that area can go to help keep them from the extremely dangerous public school environment -- and I say that without an ounce of sarcasm. Meth is a huge problem there, and the school is getting broken into constantly by druggies looking for stuff to sell for drugs. There were two break-ins while we were there, if that tells you anything. Another telling item was the sign in the cafeteria that said "Celebrate Survival". I don't know a lot of cafeterias that have that -- the sign had little handwritten notes on it from kids who had lost siblings to violence. Sad. But, the school provides a lot of opportunities for the kids, including sports and tons of scholarships, and most importantly, a safe place to get a good education.
We had an entire wing of a dorm to ourselves, complete with actual beds with actual mattresses and -- get this -- showers. Not just a cinderblock building with spigots coming out of the walls, or bathroom stalls with shower curtains, but actual real bathtubs and not only that? We had our own bathrooms attached to our rooms. We each had one roommate and two suitemates, and it was great! Air conditioning was not one of the amenities, but that was ok -- it was plush by mission trip standards.
As for the work, we spent the first three days tearing up a hardwood gym floor (that had been installed in 1932) and the last couple days doing outside grounds cleanup type work. I got to run a Skilsaw for the first time -- and not just your normal use-around-the-house saw, but the industrial type. I had to call my dad and tell him. I was pretty proud. I love using power tools, and mission trips are a great way to learn how to use them without ruining something expensive or important in your own house.
The staff at the school loved us, because our kids (as usual) busted their asses to get whatever done that they were asked to do. The school didn't think we'd finish the floor as quickly as we did, and they kind of had to scramble everyday to keep us occupied, because things just kept getting done almost as soon as they were assigned. It always makes me proud, because a lot of times, people assume that teenagers will be lazy or mess around all the time, and that's just not our group.
It wasn't all work though -- we had two half days of work, and on those days we went to Santa Fe and Bandelier National Park. We also visited Chimayo and in the evenings, spent a lot of time hanging out playing games, doing puzzles, stuff like that. It was really good.
So. I'm happy to be home, because let me tell you -- it gets a little crowded when you're in a 15- person van with 15 people in it for 6 or so hours. And also hot. Did I mention hot? Although I will say that being home isn't much better -- it was 80 degrees at 8 this morning, and close to 100 when I go home in the afternoon. I'm not complaining though -- it could be worse. Humidity, higher temperatures, and I could be working outside or stuck in a van with stinky boys or in a place with no a/c. So I'm good.