Trip Recap: Dec. 5- Dec. 13, 2015
It may not have seem like much in the grand scheme of worldly disasters being tended to, but 30-plus Olivet College students darted toward South Carolina in hopes of helping a community, literally, under water, for a week-long stay during the winter break.
There was no snow in South Carolina, and it was 60 degrees or higher each day. A sea-salt wind kissed our noses. Alligators were rumored about. Sleeping was envied. Spiders were larger. Friends multiplied. A town, disinclined to drown, got a breath of fresh air when the students and the All Hands volunteer team took head-on the project of resuscitating the Georgetown, South Carolina area community.
Ah. What a blessing.
It was a week, yes, but it was also a test: could we, as students, really remove moldy pink insulation in a 3-foot crawl space meant for house storage – for nefarious bugs?
Oddly, we could.
Dressed in Walter White “Breaking Bad” yellow and white costumes, students took the task of helping families directly and indirectly impacted from an October flood, which took 19 lives.
Single and double-wide homes with moldy wood flooring, dwellings with roofs caved in like an agape mouth and stares going this way and that, workers grew accustomed to the homes, the leaky roofs, the calloused hands.
In closing, this trip wouldn’t be possible without the help and support from Michael Fales, director of service learning and campus ministries, and Carrie Jacob, community service coordinator. These two were gentle listeners to our late-night shenanigans of Bananagrams and euchre. Without them, these Olivet College students would be lost in a black crawl space without a headlight.
Until next time, lend a helping hand.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2015
A “Make America Great Again” back drop hung behind a wooden podium on the USS Yorktown Carrier in Charleston, S. C.
It was Pearl Harbor Day, and people were celebrating.
They were celebrating the veterans of various wars – World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War – but they were also celebrating another thing, another famous American figure.
The entertainer-turned-political-entrepreneur, Donald J. Trump.
His arrival was set for 7 p.m. This realization sparked an interest in about 11 students (myself included). It wasn’t necessarily that those students wanted to vote Trump on the 2016 ballots; rather, they wanted to see the show – his powerful rhetoric (i.e., his headlines made through scathing verbiage).
The Olivet students weren’t disappointed.
Thousands of Trump supporters and protesters piled into the famous Yorktown Carrier. Buttons reading “Hillary in Prison” stared us directly in the eyes as they passed by in silver carts. Then, women campaign volunteers could be heard shouting, “Bomb ISIS” as they casually walked by the scared Olivet group.
And then came Trump’s speech.
The Olivet group stayed for a little more than an hour at the rally. The speech, which introduced Trump’s proclamation on not wanting to admit Muslims into the United States, was interrupted five times by protesters.
The back-and-forth screams were dramatized, full of hatred, and, quite frankly, scary. Students like sophomore Austin Hickey caught the action live with his Android video camera.
There were “Black Lives Matters” chants, “Trump is a racist” screams and other denouncements from the various protesters.
In all, there were 10-plus protesters. These protesters of hate were also initiating hate. They were my age, in college, and full of ideas.
Yet, it all seemed foreign to these Olivet students. Yet, it all seemed like a once-in-lifetime experience.
All in all, Donald Trump did not fail in entertaining.