It’s Only Just Begun
The school bus arrives to take us away. We hear it roll up, make note of the calls to finish cleaning up, and slowly make our way past the work we have poured ourselves into this week. Some stop to take photos; neighborhood kids, finished projects, new friends. One of the teens living in the foster home passes around a piece of paper. We’re told to write our names down so we can be Facebook friends. Our lives couldn’t be farther apart, but we can now be close thanks to a website dedicated to sharing.
Some of the local kids cry. Others seem confused. These children have written us poems, sang us songs, held our hands and beat us at basketball. But what does it mean? What was this flurry of work they’ve witnessed for four days? And why aren’t they coming back tomorrow?
A group photo is taken, but some are missing. It appears that a drill will make the final sound of the trip as it secures a door in the back of the home. Cables are quickly coiled, trip members are pushed towards the bus. More photos. More crying.
Two more jump on the bus and it begins a slow crawl from the home. It leaves behind a new bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, painted walls and a clean yard. It leaves behind memories attached to specific sheets of drywall, parts of shelves or tile. It leaves behind those that it came for in the first place. They are crying.
The four left with the trucks of equipment do a final sweep. One consoles a crying teen from the foster home. We’ll be back so soon, he says. Another mentions that she better keep up her grades. She smiles, nods, takes note of a picture being taken. More hugs.
The trucks roll away. We better be back soon, I say, because the work has just begun.