Making Mississippi Home
Students traveled to Pontotoc, Mississippi, to help build affordable housing for a low-income family while learning about rural poverty, the housing crisis, and Southern culture.
One memory stands out in particular. One night after dinner at the East Baptist Church, our group was invited to attend the service following the meal. The hour and a half service was like nothing I'd ever witnessed before. The air was filled with clapping and song and deep powerful voices. We stood with all the others and I couldn't stop smiling: their passion and spirit was contagious. At several points during the sermon there were loud calls of approval: lots of "Amen"s and "all right"s. The part that really struck me was when a five year old girl lead the congregation in prayer, and it sounded to me like her words were genuine and heartfelt. These people really opened my eyes to a lifestyle that I'd never experienced before: one in which religion is incorporated into everything they do, and their passion for God is verbalized and vividly expressed, not skirted under the rug. In just a couple hours, I learned so much about the community in which we served, and I'm so thankful I had the privilege to do so.
- Jamilah Gurwala '11