It was bright and early this morning around 9:00am, I got out of bed and got ready to do a days full of work with the Vietnamese Lady La Vang Church. Our group did community work around the Lady La Vang Church such as painting fences, cleaning up the area, and gardening the past days that we had been in New Orleans and we continued with the work this morning through the afternoon. It was certainly a long and hot day, everyone was doing their work very tentively and working together cohesively. For me today I mostly helped out with Ming who is a lady from our Lady La Vang Church to garden along with other people from our group. These past few days that we had been in New Orleans at the place where we stayed at. I have been connecting and working closely with Ming. Ming is her American name, was what she told me, and Huong is her Vietnamese name. I personally like to call her Huong, because it is a beautiful name and she actually prefers Huong instead of Ming; however if people call her Ming, she doesn't mind either. Something about today that really moved me was everyone helping eachother out and working together to help rebuild the community that we were settling in. As tired as we are with the work that we were doing, we all stayed focus and made the best effort as we can. The church also has been very generous in our stay at the house owned by the church and also with providing us food as well. We always tell them, no thanks, we don't make this to be a inconvenience for you; however they still go out of their way in feeding us, because they are grateful for our help with the church and are glad to have us their with them. It makes me happy that we had put a smile on their faces and made their life a bit more blessful after Hurricane Katrina. These people have been through a lot and had lost a lot of assets and they have worked hard since to rebuild and revise their community, but it does take time to go back to where it was or at least to renew it. So for us coming there to help them as much as we can, they will be forever grateful and appreciate it a lot.
Another thing I learned today from the church was talking with Ming. She is actually a really sweet and genuine person. She is not actually from the church, but she had been helping them for 14 years now. She loves to garden and keep herself busy at all times. I notice that she is a very hard working Vietnamese woman. With so little that she has, she is very strong at heart and in mind. She voluntarily helps with the church at least three to four days a week and she also a job that she goes to too, which is her own hairdressing business that she has been doing for a long time now too. She is a very intelligent and wise person. While working with her, she told us stories of when she came to the United States and what she had been doing in her life and everything. While Yen and I was helping with planting flowers in the garden, Ming told us that everytime we plant a flower, we should make a wish and it might come true, because she had done it many times and some had come true, so this is one of those superstition if you believe it or not and it may or may not come true, but it was interesting to know, so Yen and I did make a couple of wishes, so we'll just see if it comes true or not.
Well, it was a very productive and nice day. We finished a lot of work that we needed to do and we got to see an icecream truck today and were all happy that we ate icecream. We had a delicious lunch, which was fried rice and chicken that our Father Dominique from our church who is the owner of the Lady La Vang Church bought for us. He is just too kind and generous to us Hamline people along with Father Antoine who is our delightful father and friend in New Orleans. We are looking foward in working in different places around New Orleans such as Common Ground and another Vietnamese community called Mary Queen. It is going to be a good service learning week.