Making Memories by Grace Montgomery

Today started off with our group returning to the site where we worked yesterday. We were soon split up, some of us to go to the location of the next house and some of us to stay and finish the second house. I was in the group working on the new house, so we walked down the road and up a hill to the house of a little old lady who was taking care of her two grandkids (a boy and a girl) while their parents were in the hospital. The little boy was literally the cutest kid I’ve ever seen. He was so shy that he would just look at you and make ‘hmm’ noises when you asked him a question. Eventually though, you could get him to warm up to you if you sat right next to him and interacted for a bit. He was especially friendly when you were drinking Gatorade, so I gave him my Gatorade and he would sit there smiling and drinking the Gatorade. It made me smile so much when he smiled; there really is no greater joy in life than getting a kid to laugh or smile. After interacting with the kids that lived in the house I would work on the cement and then took a break. The workers actually preferred us taking breaks because I think they thought we slowed them down. Oh well. Also, as with last time, a lot of the neighbors came out to help, so there were a lot of kids around. I even raced this one little girl down and back up a hill, playing tag, which is probably why I got nauseous in the sun around 15 minutes later. The lady who owned the house was so nice when I got nauseous, I was able to communicate to her (somehow) that I didn’t feel good and was going to sit in the shade, and she returned a few minutes later with a chair for me. After lunch, I felt better and me and some of the other students walked down the hill collecting trash. The neighbors invited us into their back porch, which was noticeably nicer than the surrounding houses. A part of me was glad to see that the two girls that were with us (who we had met at the Cigar Family School) lived in better conditions than other people we had seen. We also gave out bracelets to the little kids, which again made me smile to see a simple gesture like giving a kid a bracelet, make them so happy. It’s a great, humbling feeling you get. After seeing the house we went with some more neighbor kids to explore farther down the road. It was a breathtaking sight seeing all the rolling hills and mountains we never see in Tampa. The kids were having a fun time walking with us and playing around. After exploring we headed back to the house and got ready to leave. The woman who owned the house gave us a sweet thank you speech, which again touched my heart. Then we gave out supplies to the neighbors and workers and left. I felt a bit upset that I might never see those kids again, and what becomes of their lives; but hopefully we have been able to make it brighter with our time spent here. I wish today wasn’t our last day, and that we could spend more time helping out the community and meeting the kids, but hopefully they’ll remember us just as much as I’m sure to always remember them. – Grace Montgomery