As I walked in it was almost haunting. The 6th graders were working on cooking their favorite things for the teachers as a thank you for everything this year. The first table I came across was pancakes and there were 2 already made with whip cream, sprinkles, chocolate and a cherry on it. There was bowls of fruit set out ready for distribution. As I moved my way around the classroom I found dumblings in every stage of assembly, floor everywhere, cookie cutters next to bowls of icing, freshly made loaves of bread, butter, eggs and milk sitting out and fully assembled mini pizzas waiting to be cooked. Granted all of these things were now 3 days old but it looked as if everyone had just stepped out of the room for a minute. My first job was to get rid of the food. (What I shouldn't tell is that I ate some of the food that was safe like the canned fruit still in its juice because of the lack of food that I have at this time.) My teacher had instructed me not to wash the dishes because the rest of the teachers would come and pitch in after lunch. I followed those instructions for about 10 mins and then realized I really have nothing else to do so I started on the 4 day old dishes that have had sugar and butter and who knows what else sitting in them all with freezing cold water!
The teachers were very grateful that I had finished about 3/4 of the dishes by the time they made their way up to start work. I felt a sense of relief knowing that I had actually done something to help with the clean up because during the crisis I had felt useless. I feel that I am good in high stress, crisis situations but in this case I was useless because there is so much that needs to be done and so many things the teachers have to get accomplished but in order to ask me to do it they would have to explain the task in English making it more difficult then for them to do all of it themselves causing me to just stand around looking like a dumby. As I followed this group of women from room to room fixing things here and there I just admired their worker bee attitudes. It was a bit overwhelming as we would enter a room as they each tackled a section of the damaged areas. If you didn't know exactly what you wanted to work on as soon as you entered the room it would be too late because they would already have it done.
Today was a great way, I felt, to help out with something that is easy for me to do without any language barriers to get in the way. These dishes need cleaning is something anyone could figure out and get started on. I often feel useless like I said so I was thankful for today to be able to contribute. This earthquake as been devastating for some and alarming for others but I am thankful that I am able to continue to grow with the people around me through all of this!