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My Shaw Mission Trip Experience: By Kate Arenas

I never thought my parents would let me go to Mississippi by myself. But they did and I’m glad they let me go! I learned a lot from the work and people I met in Shaw. When I first got on the bus, I wasn’t too excited. I knew it would be a long drive. It turned out to be very fun! When we reached Mississippi, we stopped for dinner in Vicksburg. The food was good, and we were welcomed. Then someone who worked there (possibly the Owner?) told us they had karaoke! A lot of kids started singing and it was great watching them. Then (I’m still not sure how) I got up and started singing too! Of course, not alone! I sang with Vivian and J.T. Once everyone finished singing and eating we got back on the bus and drove for about 2 more hours.

When we got to Shaw I started seeing almost all the places I looked up when I was researching! We drove a bit more (we stayed in Merigold, MS, not Shaw.)  We stayed at a missionary home (like a hotel but cheaper) owned by a church. I can’t remember if we went to sleep right away or had a talk in the living room. Either way, the next morning we woke up at 6:45 AM, had Gratitude Café, and left to go to McEvans Elementary School. When we got there we (Tribers and Shaw kids) formed a circle to play a game. I noticed we were all separated, one side Tribe, the other Shaw kids. Anyway, we got to know their names, then started working. I was assigned to gardening, which was harder than construction in my opinion (because the construction was in the shade in a concession stand.). We were making holes for a pumpkin patch that would grow in the fall. It was very hard work. Later we had lunch at the school cafeteria. I didn’t enjoy most of it, only the fruit. After that we went to Delta Hands for Hope, which is a community center. Everyone had different jobs throughout the days, some painted, some cleaned paint brushes, helped with preschool camp, and more. We worked there for a few hours then went back to the house. We ate, and had a talk, then went to sleep. The next few days started out like that, but one day we went to a different part of Mississippi to see where the blues most likely started and a statue of Fanny Lou Hamer. The next days, we continued working at McEvans school (and playing kickball with the kids there) and working at Delta Hands for Hope. The last day we were there we finished everything up, ate lunch, and then went bowling with all the kids we met. It was very fun even though I didn’t win! After that we had a pizza picnic at a park and played games. Sadly, then it was time to say goodbye to everyone we met. Afterwards, we went back home, packed a bit, and went to sleep.

The next morning, we packed all our things, ate breakfast, and left to go to church. We went to an African American church, which was exciting! It was a longer service than at SMBC but ended earlier than expected. We left church then got on the road to Texas! We only made one bathroom stop until we made it home. I was glad to see my family and I had A LOT to tell them. Overall it was a great experience for everyone! I hope I can come back once I’m a youth. A lot of the kids we met will be in college by that time…but I would still love to go. For next year’s mission trip, I will be happy to go. 


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