Day Six Gerri and AdamMay 21, 2011
Today was the best day by far! We, the leadership team, took on a service project, helping out the St. Thomas church – this included cleaning up the Shrine of the Gracious Madonna Monastery. We started off serving soup and bread to the homeless in Prague. It was a vastly different experience than we had thought based on American culture. We literally had a pot of soup on a small round table, one ladle and market bag of bread. Our hearts were saddened, but the people could not have been more gracious. They only took what they needed and were so thankful. We served approx. 35 people.
After this eye opening experience, we took an hour drive to the Monastery. The monastery was located in a beautiful place surrounded by trees, flowers, and inclusive village. As we drove in, it was not long before we realized the work that needed done. The amount of work we did was tremendous, we shoveled a trench, moved large bricks, moved large furniture, tiled floors, swept and mopped, and cleaned all bathroom quarters. The work that needed done was nothing compared to the next saddening news. Five orphans lived under these conditions currently. This not only meant that they were living under poor conditions, but had little clothing, blankets, tooth brushes, and no sheets. The necessities were lacking.
The overall team goal was to be effective in cleaning and helping the Monastery. You could see our motivation spark even more once we had learned that there were already children living there. It was a great learning opportunity. In one day, you could see the change in our attitudes about life. We are very thankful and appreciative of the life that we get to live everyday. In the beginning, we were very anxious to do whatever we were asked, and that fueled our interest in this project. Our values showed best as we all got our hands dirty and kept working throughout the hot day. Our satisfaction cannot be put into words, but the look on our faces would be the best way of describing our accomplishment.
This has been very beneficial for our lives. We now know no matter where we are in the world, a difference can be made. We have been very helpful and thankful to help. Our classes have taught us so much about transforming into leaders, but this experience really helped us transform and focus on one common purpose, goal, and outcome. Acting as servant leaders, we took the time to help others have a better place to live, play, and appreciate. As a servant leader, there were 12 leaders working for someone else; and this has helped us grow and develop in one day. The hope is that this experience has touched all of us, and by reading this blog you understand how much it touched us. Everyday we need to realize how many people there are that need our help, not just in Prague, but in Emporia too! The purpose of studying abroad is more than seeing the world, but taking on the challenge to contribute to change in the world.
Thanks to Mary and Taylor for the experience, you are helping us develop as leaders!