Posted by: marykfurness | June 9, 2014

Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Travel. The mere word conjures up visions of suitcases packed full of great clothes, tickets bought for exotic locales, and hotel rooms with comfortable beds and fluffy bathrobes.

Not always.

This latest trip of mine involves clothes and shoes packed for the express purpose of getting grubby; a 5-and-a-half-hour car trip with people I have never travelled with; sleeping on a cot,in a room with 8 other women, in a church in a small town in Illinois.

But this is one of the most mind-blowing and heart-stopping trips I have ever taken.

I have travelled, with four other members of my church, to the town of Rantoul, Illinois, to participate in a Habitat for Humanity “Blitz Build” of two houses in the nearby town of Gifford. Gifford,IL was nearly wiped off the map last November by a massive tornado that either damaged or destroyed 300 of the homes in that town of a thousand people. For various reasons, the town received no SEMA or FEMA money–no trailers, nothing. This was not Joplin. This was not the town of Washington, Illinois, which experienced a tornado at nearly the same time. This town is pulling itself back together with the help of people across the U.S., who give of their own time, their own love, and their own teamwork. I’ve never done this before.

But after 24 hours here, I know I would do it again; and that this is more than just another way of travelling, but a way to give back.

More on the how and the why–along with pictures and stories–later

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