Yesterday was a lot of sitting around and so we had a conversation with the school staff at KIPP Believe about if they really needed us or not. They assured us that when we arrived they would have a list of stuff to do and that they REALLY needed us. We were a little bit skeptical, but they were absolutly correct! We worked non-stop all day long and only completed about 2/3 of the list they had for us. We painted, organzied, made bulletin boards, cleaned, and a ton of other things.
We went to dinner at 5:30pm at one of the greatest wing places in the country. Huge wings, low prices, and some great memories. You’ll have to ask a student on the trip about it!
After our final share time, we cleaned where we are staying and headed to bed.
Today we served at the KIPP Believe Primary (yesterday was at KIPP Leadership). The entire school system in New Orleans is comprised of charter schools. They are the first city in the entire nation to make that move and KIPP is one of the charter school groups that has several schools here.
It was a little bit frustrating because the staff at the school was extremely busy because it was their first day of school. Our team had mixed feelings. Some of our team felt like they did a lot of work, while others felt like there was a lot of standing around. We were scheduled to be there until 5pm, but we finished their entire work list by 11am. Despite some down time, we did prove to be a lot of help to the school since they had just moved into their building on July 1st.
We quit working at about 5pm and headed to the French Quarter to take a cruise on the Steamboat Natchez. We had a great dinner on the ship and spent two hours just enjoying the Mississippi river, the breeze, and great conversation. After the cruise we headed home and headed to bed.
This morning we headed over to an elementary school to help them prepare for their first day of school which is Tuesday. They start EARLY down here! We worked from 9am – 5:30pm and only had a ten minute break for lunch . . . but we sure did accomplish a lot. We hung signs, organized closets, sorted and delivered $20,000 worth of books to teachers, picked up rocks at the playground, organzied a library, cut things, glued things, drew things, colored things, and filled out things all day long. The teachers and staff were overwhelmingly appreciative and we also heard the magic words that we long to hear from our contact . . . “we’ve had a lot of groups this summer, but you guys were the best group we’ve had.”
One of the weirdest things happened. While we were in the back part of the school cleaning up rocks and trash one of the guys said, “That’s not where we parked is it?” and pointed to a van at the fence (see the picture with this blog). Right in front of us, parked at the school, was one of the two FBC Georgetown church vans that we sold last year. What are the chances of that?!?!?!?!
We were planning on eating dinner with two of our missionaries that we’ve served with before, but at the last minute they had a pressing matter arise so they had to cancel. Since the guys were leading the day in the Battle of the Sexes (the girls couldn’t even score a point) they chose to go back to the French Quarter for dinner. We ate at Camellia Grill and then headed back for an early night. The entire team was exhausted.
We got to sleep in a little bit in the morning, but then we hit the ground running. Rarely are we able to work on Sundays because everyone we are working for is taking the day off so it was a fun day for us.
We started our day with worship at FBC New Orleans. When you visit a church and think, “If I lived here this is definitely where I would go,” I think it means they are doing something right. We heard a great sermon out of James 4 by their pastor David Crosby (who is the dad of one of our Camp Collide co-directors Josh Crosby!)
The girls had command of the Battle of the Sexes and they chose to play the Urban Spoon game for lunch so after church we drove out to Slidell, Louisiana and ate lunch at Ky’s Bicycle Shop. Ky’s is a diner-type restaurant that has bikes hanging from the ceiling. The setting was kind of cool. After lunch we went on the Swamp Tour down the Pearl River. We saw a lot of smaller alligators (8 were around our boat at one time) and a lot of beautiful scenery.
After dinner we drove back to the French Quarter and had dinner at Cafe Maspero. Steve and Carol Hickerson were on vacation in New Orleans so they met us and bought dinner for the entire team! After dinner we shopped in the French Quarter and had dessert at Cafe Du Monde. We finished our day with a share time and then went to bed.
We got up this morning and went grocery shopping for the week. Each day the point totals for control of “Battle of the Sexes” starts over and the girls assumed control at the grocery store. After shopping we went prayer walking through Tulane University and Loyola University.
After prayer walking the girls used their control of the game to choose lunch and they wanted to play the Urban Spoon game. We ended up at a wings place, but since it had no seating we went next door to a chinese food restaurant.
After lunch we went to APEX. APEX is a community center for teenagers in a poverty inflicted neighborhood. While there we cleaned the building, fixed computers, organized a library, served lunch, and played games with the neighborhood kids.
After our work projects, the girls chose to eat dinner in the French Quarter and we ate right on Jackson Square at a place called Stanley. While in the French Quarter the guys took control of the game (which I never thought would happen!) Before that happened, the girls had decided on the Haunted History Ghost Tour.
We got home at 10pm and had a brief share time before heading to bed.
We loaeded up with 11 of the best seniors at 8am and started the journey towards New Orleans and kicked off the annual “Battle of the Sexes.” There are contests all along the way to get points and whichever gender has the most points at a given time get to make a decision. The guys started off with a quick lead, but the girls passed them by before lunch and chose for us to eat at Whataburger outside of Houston.
The trip to New Orleans was packed with traffic and what would have been an 8 hour drive (if you drove non-stop) ended up being an 11 hour drive. The great news is that we arrived without incident and moved into the Tulane BSM where we are staying for the week.
After a brief orientation and the girls choosing the larger bathroom for the week (yes, they were still in charge and I anticipate they will be all week), they decided to walk to dinner. No one wanted to sit in a van any longer. We walked to Fresca’s and had pizza. After we got back, we unpacked, made our grocery shopping list, and had a brief share time before going to bed.