Spring break has begun and, like every spring break since middle school, we dropped Erin off at the church so she could spend a week doing mission work.  I’m not sure if this is part of a larger movement among young people to do more public service or if it’s unique to the Methodist church but we’ve gone with it.  She always has a great time and always comes home with a broader sense of perspective.  It usually manifests itself in her not wanting expensive things for her birthday. 

This year, they are headed to Guatemala for a week of construction work.  This sort of thing is often overcome by events and depending on how the ongoing construction projects have gone, the students may work on the advertised project or they may go on to the next one.  They are trying to build a new church down there and when you mix all your concrete by hand and move it up via bucket brigade, the projects take awhile – Evan did that a couple of years ago and I imagine they’ll be doing it again this year.  Most of Evan’s time was spent tying rebar and handling buckets of concrete. 

When they get back and the slide show is presented they often show many photos of paint-splattered kids painting rooms.  Erin tells us that this is because whoever has the camera doesn’t often get outside the building because it’s hot outside and that the kids who are assigned to paint are generally the deadbeats.   The reason they are paint-spattered is that they flick it on each other because they are attention-deficit do-nothings.  She tends to be brutal in her assessments but she’s often accurate.  These kids are all put in the same room with paintbrushes so that the adult can supervise them (and crack the whip) all at once.  More efficient use of resources and all that.  Unfortunately, kids that are spattered with colored paint are the most photogenic so what you see is often not representative. 

Last year in Mexico, Erin worked in the blacksmith shop which nobody wanted any part of since it involved hard work, heat, and frequent sparks.  There was one photo of her with a nondescript piece of metal in her hand and it was not at all obvious from the photo that the size and shape of it were the result of a great deal of effort to make it exactly as it was to within a millimeter or two and that great energy was expended to make it so.

This year, she was super excited to go since it involved an airplane ride and the use of a passport.  We have done this enough that we don’t get worried any more.  I am only guilty of feeling a bit wistful as we watch her disappear around the corner with the large chattering group of her friends.  We look forward to hearing all about the trip when she returns next Saturday.

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