Luke Jogensen is a junior at Royal Oak High School. This is his first disaster relief trip.

Claire Stanley is a sophomore at Royal Oak High School, and this is her first relief trip.

Yesterday we started the day off at our first site. There we started the day off carrying enormous logs to the curb. Mr. Chisnell just kept chainsawing and Josh, Gio, and I kept hauling the logs. We then ate lunch as we switched job sites. At our new job site we had to saw all the branches off a tree to make it easier to move off the fence that kept the cows in. We struggled with a couple big ones but we were able to pull it off.

After a long day of work we were greeted at the church with many nice people that belonged to the church. They cooked us an amazing meal. We had ham, homemade mac and cheese, green beans, and then cupcakes for dessert. It was definitely the best meal we’ve had on this trip. We were then taught how to play a super fun game. The game is nine square. It’s similar to four square but each person stands under their own square and you have to hit it up through yours into another person’s. It’s pretty similar to volleyball.

Today we went to the same job site we ended on yesterday, but instead of sawing down another tree we had to move more branches and logs. We put them in a pile and tried to set it on fire, but we couldn’t quite get it lit. We ended up deciding to let the person who owned the farm to handle it because he’s done it before. After this we left the job site early to get our showers in and spend the evening in Memphis. There we went to Beale St. and our group went to an ok restaurant. It wasn’t the best food, but I guess it wasn’t too bad. we then spent the rest of the evening going in all different kinds of souvenir shops.


 

Waking up this morning you could already smell the southern styled food cooking in the kitchen, courtesy of members, parishioners, and volunteers from the church. The food was beyond delicious, with scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, and sasuage styled grits. It was a nice break from the same old cereal and pop tarts we’ve been jamming in the toaster this past week. I’m glad to say I enjoyed every part of it, including being able to talk to some of the cooks.

Once everyone was loaded onto the bus, we were excited to talk about our trip to Memphis later tonight. The day was shortened at work sites so we could go enjoy the wonders of Beale street in downtown Memphis. We got to the sites early, and my group especially got a lot of work done. We were in charge of chopping down trees that knocked over a farm owner’s fence, which he needed fixed so his cattle could roam further out on the property.

The trees today were so big, it at times took all 8 or 10 of us jumping on it to get it off. The saws we had were weaker than the trees at most times. But we were able to work through it and despite getting a little sunburnt, had quite a successful day. It seems like we could be done before the end of the day tomorrow, which is exciting because that means we can go to a new worksite.

The bus picked our groups up after lunch and everyone went to the YMCA to shower and get ready for the evening. We were on the bus to Memphis around 4 and got to the little visitor’s center around 4:45. It was about a 15 minute walk to Beale Street, so we used this walk to visit the Orpheum and take pictures before going to dinner at Flynn’s. Everyone enjoyed the “loosie burgers” and pulled pork that was served along with the live music playing.

Once dinner ended we walked around to the Gibson factory/store, which was unfortunately closed. Then we did more tourist-y things, like visiting endless souvenir shops along the famous street home to blues and live jazz. After that, we decided to go more towards the less crowded main street to enjoy some more shopping and make a stop for ice cream at Maggie Moo’s. Finally, we started heading back to the bus and made some pit stops to take pictures and dance around the square. It was a very fun night, it felt like a nice relaxed ending to the day and a nice way to remember one of the many highlights of this trip.