o Today, we split into two groups. Although the group prefers to work together, we all agreed that more would be accomplished in two groups. The people that remained indoors covered pictures from the museum with cardboard in order to protect them from potential damage of the construction and renovation. The group of people that ventured outside was responsible for caring for the historic buildings and gardens in downtown Bethlehem. As a part of the outdoor group, I was able to see how much work was really needed to be done and the difference that a few hours can make on a community. Still standing tall and beautiful, the historic buildings of Bethlehem were beginning to collect cob webs and dirt in hard to reach places. Our determined and self-motivated group of volunteers worked long and hard under an unyielding sun, restoring a few of Bethlehem’s extraordinary buildings and gardens to their former glory.
After removing years worth of ivy and plant life, which had noticeably taken up residence on the side of many of Bethlehem’s structures, our tour guide commented that the archway can “finally breathe.” Originally, I laughed at the comment. However, once I stepped back and took a moment to acknowledge the significant difference, I realized that there really weren’t any better words to describe our accomplishment.
Public showers have an aptitude of making people feel icky and claustrophobic, but they certainly were a sight for sore eyes after a long day of physical labor. I watched as the dirt gathered at the bottom of the drain and then quickly vanished. I was astonished to be feeling sad, but it felt as if the proof of my efforts were washing away. Shortly after this, I realized that I was content just knowing what I had done for my new community, and that feeling of achievement is something that will never wash off.
-Jenna T. '15