Name: Danny Jones
Hometown: Williamsburg, VA
Major: Religious Studies and Education
Since returning from New Orleans, I have come to several conclusions. First and foremost, I miss New Orleans more than I could ever describe. I miss the cooking. I miss the look of the French Quarter. But most of all, I miss the people there. Each individual that we met was the most incredible person that I’ve ever met. We met some truly spectacular people. I knew that we would touch their lives and help them, but I never imagined that they would touch my life and help me in the way that they did.
Second, I miss our group, all 31 of them. I wanted to kill each and every one of them at one point while we were down there, but I found it odd waking up the next morning and not having them there right next to me. I miss complaining with them about food. I miss working beside people that I never knew existed before this trip. But most of all, and most important of all, I miss my new 31 best friends that I made on this trip.
Third, I have learned that no one back home will ever be able to understand what we went through exactly. No one will ever understand the feeling that you get when you see entire blocks gone. No one will ever understand just how high that water line was. No one will ever understand that exact feeling that you get when you walk into a house for the first time and you see all of this family’s belongings thrown about all over the house. No one will ever understand the feeling that you get when you finish with a house and you go to say goodbye to the family and you see the emotion on their faces. No one will ever understand that moment when the family is trying to put into words how thankful they are for you and for what you have done to help them to begin to rebuild their lives. And no one will ever understand that feeling when you’re standing there listening to this family tell you how thankful they are for you, when all you want to do is express how thankful you are for them and how thankful you are that you got the opportunity to help them and to have new people as remarkable as they are enter your life. No one will ever understand until they go through it themselves.
Finally,the past two weeks were the best two weeks of my life. Never have I done something so remarkable and something that has meant so much to me and to others. I just miss the whole experience so much. But as sad as I am for it all, I have come away with understanding one of the most important messages that I have ever learned: that it is through giving that we truly receive. Never has this been truer. So, while the 32 of us might have gone down to New Orleans to help these people begin to rebuild their lives, it is us who have been truly blessed and who have received more than anyone could ever receive.