Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Capital City Adventures



Just as we got settled into our routine in New Windsor we had to pack in ONE bag, drive to the capital of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg) and move into a giant hall in a church. Twenty two people, twenty two sleeping bags, twenty two towels, forty four flip-flops, forty couch cushions, three couches, one hide-a-bed, one "shower" (A stall in a fridge storage room), one mattress, and three ROOMS for THREE DAYS. But I am not complaining, I slept on cushions every night and even though I woke of four thousands times in the night I wasn't on the floor.

The neighborhood we were in was not what you would call affluent in any way, shape or form. The houses were falling apart but you could tell at one time that they were very pretty. It reminded me a little bit of Toronto but more shabby (and not in a chic way). The Brethren Church we stayed in ran a lot of community ministry projects and is partnered with a low-cost housing organization. They hold classes and after-school programs all week and we were there to help out with cleaning the church and their other properties as well as help out with their Friday food distribution program.


A lot of things happened while we were there that were quite memorable but I am having trouble remembering them and my friend who has already blogged what happened wrote it all out in German (JERK!). So here is a list of the top things I remember right now:
  • We drove to the grocery store while listening to the sound track from The Mission. Yo-Yo Ma which really set the tone of the drive. It was like we were in the movie Dangerous Minds...
  • We cleaned an unventilated kitchen in a creepy basement. The sink were poured our dirty water down didn't have a drain pipe missing in the sink, we found old Parmesan cheese, cooking supplies from the late 40s, snow-cone supplies (including syrup) from the late 60s, a razor blade from the early 1900s and a bunch of mysterious vials... I don't know when the last time anyone was in there but there was mouse poop in the microwave and a book that was called "We Know God Loves us Because He Gives us Peanut Butter." The cleaning project was actually kind of fun but that could have been the effects of the Orange Cleaner, Awesome cleaner, and Pinequate we were using.
  • We saw a drug bust in the church parking lot
  • We cleaned weeds out of the church parking lot
  • I washed baseboards
  • My food group and I made enough curry for fifty people but we had an industrial burner so it was actually ready in time... Quite the accomplishment seeing as my partners would only let me use two pots, one strainer, three spoons and one knife as opposed to every dish I can find in the kitchen.
  • We played four hundred games of Werewolf. Probably the best game EVER invented. It would take forever to explain but there are werewolves, and willagers, and a witch and lovers, and cupid and oh just so much fun.
  • An old man tried to save me and everyone else in line for the Food Distribution. He was yelling a lot and talking in tongues. I don't think he was Brethren because they seem to be pretty straight laced for the most part.
  • I attended a bible study with people waiting for the food distribution. It was mostly just people yelling things like KNOW WHOSE YOU ARE and PRAISE JESUS. It was intense. I stayed quiet. They were discussing the story where Jesus gives out the fish and the loaves and there are extra left over. All the yelling about what a miracle it was made me not want to talk about how we were taught that it was probably just that everyone shared their own food and that we should probably just learn to share. This was the longest hour of "church" I have attended in a long time.
  • I attended a conflict resolution Sunday School class. We silently played this Sign game the entire time with our leader. Also a game that is hard to explain but so much fun.
  • We got the night to explore the riverfront which was actually really beautiful. A stark contrast to where we were staying (Imagine the Legislature grounds in Edmonton vs. the area near the Bissell Centre). My group took a walk down at the water front and when we got back we realized that the capital building was the opposite direction. I was pretty upset because things like Capital Buildings and historical garbage are my favorite. That being said I did see a guy using an American flag as a paddle on the very polluted river. God bless 'Merica.
-Note how the dead squirrel lays in solidarity with those who died before him.

  • Almost all the streets in the city are named after nuts and berries. So Cute!
That is all I can remember right now... It was great weekend. It was an intense weekend. It was the weekend that I threw my fellow werewolves under the bus and won the game all alone!!!!!!!!

As mentioned earlier my friend Chris blogged about this weekend as well:
http://robinamericandersson.blogspot.com/
I am sure it is a good story too but it's in German. He posted some pictures (you will recognize my butt - Thanks Chris) there as well so you can see the neighborhood and the scary kitchen we cleaned. We weren't really encouraged to take pictures so the ones he has posted are of the nicer streets.

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