Well Hello again from San Diego!
The day started out beautifully with a breakfast of strawberries and pancakes. Then we headed off for a three mile walk to the food pantry we were volunteering in. We had decided to walk because we didn’t start until after lunch, and we figured we would see a lot of the area this way. What we did not account for was that most of the walk was through a not-so-great part of town, so instead of “seeing the city” we just saw a ton of interesting smelling Chinese bakeries and Mexican markets. (And everything in between.) After walking three miles, we were both hot, sweaty and hungry. We stopped and I used my Urbanspoon app to look up a good place to eat. There was a place near us that has good reviews, even though it didn’t list what type of cuisine it was, we decided to try it. Well, when we sat down and got the menu’s, we realized it was east African cuisine. I have had Egyptian food before, and loved that, but I really can’t remember having African. Honestly not much on the menu looked good, but Rebekah got the salad and I got Somas. Both were surprisingly delicious. After that we still had about an hour until we needed to volunteer, so we walked over to the Jack in the Box and split a milkshake. It was even better then yesterdays. (I don’t really like Jack in the Box food, but their milkshakes are probably my favorite out of all fast-food places.)
We then headed over to the pantry. At first there was a little confusion, but it all got figured out quickly and we went to work! Local restraints and grocery stores donated all sorts of food. We bagged up a bunch of KFC into individual servings, and then headed outside to find a case of probably 1000 cucumbers. There were about 15 other people there helping, and bagging the cucumbers into 6 a bag went pretty quickly. There was just-expired food from grocery stores that they can’t sell but that is still good. There was also a case of probably 400 pint-size yogurts. And there was a 2 hot-tub size crates full of watermelons and a crate with all sorts of cookies and crackers (like nilla wafers, graham crackers, teddy grahams, Oreos ect.) the boxes were damaged so they could not be sold but everything was still perfectly fine!
After we set this all up in an assembly line, we had about an hour before we opened for business, so we waited around. There was a really sweet lady who had a 3½ month old baby girl, and I asked to hold her and she let me. This of course made my day. (The baby girl’s name was Rebeka too!) Once it was time to open I stood in front of one of the crates directing people (while still holding the baby, of course!) I fed Rebeka and she fell asleep, and I ended up holding her for the whole time- a couple of hours! She was just the sweetest baby, always smiling and happy. She just loved all the people that came through.
We had noticed when we first walked up around 11, that there were already people forming a line. The pantry didn’t open until 3! As the people walked through 99% of them had a smile on their face. They were all so appreciative, and it just struck me. I am around and work with people in DC who have quite a lot of money. They are known for being rude, impatient, and unhappy. They don’t smile almost ever, and then are all very focused on getting to work, getting home or whatever it is that they are doing. Most of them have quite a bit of money and live in standards way above the rest of the world.
The people I worked with today, are totally different. Many of them are homeless, and most of them struggle to put food on the table. They definitely don’t live in luxury, and I can guarantee that their lives’ are not easy. Yet they are some of the happiest, friendliest people I have ever met. The whole thing just recommended in my mind how little money and status has to do with happiness. I.e., one does not relate to the other. AT ALL.
After I had to give little Rebeka back and we had to leave, we started walking to a bus, because my foot has been hurting since yesterday afternoon, and is still not feeling so well. The food pantry gave all the volunteers some of the food, and so we were carrying a watermelon back. The bag it was in started to break, so I just carried it in my arms. It was real slippery, so I decided to put it in my hat to get a better hold on it. As we started walking I realized just how hilarious I must look, holding a watermelon on my hip, in a big red hat. So she took a picture J
We had dinner at a local pizzeriz, it was good, but definitely not my favorite. The actual toppings kept slipping off and so unless you wanted plain cheese pizza, it was almost impossible to eat.
Now we are enjoying a very relaxing evening at home!
Bags of cucumbers
People passing by kept asking if she was a doll while she slept. So peaceful.
Carrying the watermelon home