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I woke up with a hard thump. My head had hit the cold, stiff, and brown seat of the school bus after an exhausting long bus ride from the school to our destination.
“Twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five,” counted Leslie and the teacher, Ms. Coronado.
I stood up and slowly, like a line waiting to get lunch at the school cafeteria, all 25 students hopped off the bus. Lazily, we all dragged our tired, sleepy, and cold bodies to the front of the building. I heard someone say, “I really do not want to be here I’m just doing this because I need hours.” We had arrived at St. Vincent De Paul’s shelter in Phoenix. We all walked in and we found ourselves with a warm welcome from a polite young lady.
“Good afternoon,” she greeted us, “welcome to St. Vincent De Paul’s shelter, thanks to all of you tonight for coming in and helping us out. We really appreciate that y’all came.”
She led us to a waiting room, after we had all scribbled down our names on a name tag and stuck it to the front of our shirts. We were all there just waiting and chatting about different topics.
“How do you think you did on the APUSH exam?” Mansur asked me.
“I don’t know, but I suck at history so I think I did horrible,” I replied.
“Eh, I did ok,” he responded me.
After about ten minutes, Ms. Coronado and the young lady came to us and asked, “So, who would like to go to the landing docks today?”
Timidly, some students raised their hands and were called to go next to the young lady.
“We need ten and we only have eight.”
We all stood there looking at each other back and forth. It felt like it took forever. Finally, after what seemed centuries, Kim and Elliot walked towards the young lady and said, “We’ll go.”
“Ok. The rest of you are coming with me to the kitchen and dining room!” exclaimed Ms. Coronado.
We were off to the kitchen and dining room. All of us gathered in the dining room and were told to set the table cloths on all of the tables. The room was massive!!! There were at least 200 tables. (Not really, there was only like 40.) After we set the table cloths we started to prepare the silverware (which was only putting a fork in a napkin.) We prepared an infinite number of them. We were then told, by a teenager that ran the place that night, “Tonight all of you will be assigned a specific job that we will need you to complete with your biggest enthusiasm”. We had a dilemma because none of us knew what the jobs were, so no one volunteered quickly. Since Susie and I knew how to speak Spanish and Leslie and Cameron did not have a job, they told us,” Since you guys were the last ones left we will have you all as facilitators.”
Suddenly, the sound of clattering plates, people talking loudly over random topics, and the sound of a thousand feet coming into the dining room all at once. It was like the sound of a stampede comprised of a thousand elephants. People hurriedly ran to the front of the line to be one of the first to be served. I have never seen that many people, especially families, in one single place that needed to be helped economically.
Everyone was lucky and had a seat, they all ate and had a wonderful dinner. We finished painting faces. It was tough work (even though it may not sound like hard work.) We had to stick a sort of stencil on the children’s faces and had to carefully paint inside those lines or if not you had a mess. (I will admit that I messed up a couple of times)
All of a sudden, a strange, new, and monotone voice caught my ear. It was not because of the boring voice, but of what it had said.
“Who’s ready for some BIGOOOOOOOOOO!?” exclaimed the extremely boring Jose.
I was exasperated! Were we going to play Bingo as our community service?
No. This was only for the people that were homeless or needy. What we could do though was to help out with the Bingo area which included yelling out the numbers and letters that were chosen in Spanish and English. After hearing a dull game of Bingo, that was like watching a baseball game or even worse, watching a tournament of golf, Susie and I decided that we needed to “help out” Jose and the others. We acted fast and snatched the microphone away from him and added a bit of flavor to this dreary Bingo game.
“B-five!!! B-five!!!,” yelled Susie into the microphone.
“B-cinco!!! B-cinco!!!,” I screamed into the microphone.
With that we had caused uproar of happiness from the crowd and from our classmates that were helping out with Bingo that night. The next two games were a fair with clapping, laughter and winners! R.J., a classmate of mine, was particularly pleased when we started helping out with Bingo. The lady helping out with the Bingo games had a smile from ear to ear just from listening to us. We ended the games by dismissing everyone with a,” Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year!,” and also, “ Que tengan una feliz navidad!”
Susie and I were both pleased with our performance on the stage and went to eat hotdogs with some Lays.
On the way home, Dalia, Amanda, and many others kept talking about how we were loud and way better than Jose.
At home, I reflected back at what U had done and was satisfied. Hopefully, what I can continue with this great program that has taught me numerous lessons and continue to help out many more people in need.