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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Youth Service Mission to Biloxi

My fourteen year old grandaughter, Mary-Charlotte Buck of Andover MA, went to Biloxi, Mississippi with other youth from the Diocese of Massachusets. Here is her report.

Subject: Re: home again

Dear Grandpa Robert,

Returning from Biloxi, thought i'd write about the trip, for you, for me, for whoever wants to read it.

The group sponsering the trip was the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Forty youth from all over MA came, along with a group of 30 kids from Christ Church in Needham, MA (10 minutes from Boston). We didn't travel with the Needham kids, but we stayed with them at Camp Biloxi. Camp Biloxi was where we stayed; we all slept in one giant tent, boys on one half, girls on the other. It was only sort of a tent, however, there were wood floors and wood doors as well. The walls and ceiling were made of tent material. I was a member of group two. There were eight kids in my group including me, and I knew four of them before the trip. We all became very close over the week. We arrived on Saturday night and went straight to bed. Sunday we did low-key things, as we were all very tired from traveling all day saturday. We went to church, of course, in the morning, and in the afternoon we took a tour of Biloxi. Biloxi is right on the coast, with twenty-six miles of beach. Actually, the beach is
twenty-six miles long, but I don't think that the entire beach is part of Biloxi. On Monday and Tuesday my group worked at a man named Randy Peaton's house. He goes by the name KittyKat.

At his house we painted, did yard work, worked with a lighting fixture, and did some gardening. KittyKat was so loving and appreciative towards us. He told us a lot of stories about his family and friends. His grandmother has 216 grandchildren! A lot of them are related through stepparents, though. On the second day we worked at KittyKat's house, he cooked us a huge meal of ribs, pork chops, and chicken. I don't like ribs or pork chops in general so I didn't have any of those. The chicken, however, was honestly the best chicken i've ever had. As it turns out, KittyKat used to be a famous chef before he wounded his arm and became disabled. He was probably the most interesting and generous person who I met in Mississippi, and he loved us as well. He cried when we left on Tuesday afternoon, because he had gotten used to spending time with us.

On Wednesday I woke up in the morning with Conjunctivitis! It was really gross. I didn't work that day, and I went to the free clinic in Biloxi to get a perscription for eye drops. However, my group took a brake to go to Sonic (the fast-food restaurant) for lunch, and they came to get me to go out with them! It was very much fun. I also went grocery shopping with Sonia (She is the wife of Rob Bacon, the leader of the whole trip, and youth minister to the diocese of MA) and to a barbeque at the church down there with everyone else, so my day was actually very much fun.

On Thursday my group and I went to a Boy Scout Camp to help them with "spring cleaning". It was not exactly disastor relief there, because they weren't too badly affected by the storm. However, they were very appreciative and I think that the owner really need the help. On Thursday, my group leader, Paul, had to leave to go to Washington DC for a conference. He was really nice and my group got along really well with him. Thursday we had a new leader. Her name was Ann, and she was a little bit crazy. She was pretty nice but tended to lose her temper easily.

Friday, we went to a woman named Addie Harper's house. She was extremely nice. She was relatively elderly. She has a number of kids, but in August one of her daughters died of a stroke. The daughter had four kids. I only met three of them, but they were ages two, three, and four. The three kids were adorably cute and we got along with them great. In Addie's house we could only do so much, because we had to leave the next day. We painted two rooms. She was very appreciative for the paint job, and also for a rest for the day because we took care of her grand kids too. Friday was our last day of work.

Saturday morning we had to get up at four am for our flight. I bet you know how much I enjoyed that. I felt very, very appreciated on my trip to Biloxi. Everybody there was so welcoming and nice, they just loved all of us. Everybody who we worked for thanked us about one hundred times before we left, and even random people would come up to us and as if we were volunteers. When we said yes, they would say, WELL THANK YOU! I wish that I could go back right now and continue working for all of the people there. I think mission trips might be my new favorite thing. Along with southern cooking, that is.

love, Mary Charlotte

P.S. whew, i think that is the longest email i've ever sent.

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