Saturday, December 30, 2006

Faith, Community, and Common Sense

I am so grateful that the rain held...
There was hardly a drop most of the morning as we coded the Gentilly Heights Vascoville neighborhood. The weather reports were for storms all morning, culminating in severe weather in the afternoon. Fortunately, we prepared as if it would not rain on us...and I trusted that we'd see the signs to stop before the rain came down strong.
I'm glad we exhibited that kind of faith and common sense. We finished 69 blocks of houses in Gentilly this morning, across three different neighborhoods. We began with Gentilly Heights Vascoville and that neighborhood is now complete. Burbank Gardens is now about 75% done. Mirabeau Gardens is now about 50% done.
There were 25 Gentilly residents volunteering with the five of us from Dartmouth. Much more than I had reason to expect. More than I imagined. More than I recall seeing. It took reviewing the walk list to reveal how many volunteers we had this morning.
For the first time, we had groups from one Gentilly neighborhood helping code neighborhoods that were not their own. A group from Burbank Gardens and two people from Sugar Hill came to assist the coding in Vascoville. After we were all done with their neighborhood, a group of residents from Vascoville then travelled to Bancroft Park to help code that area.
As most of the group moved to map Bancroft Park, a resident from that neighborhood (Clarie) drove me to Mirabeau Gardens. With the storms expected within a couple hours, Claire and I found 9 residents ready to map that neighborhood. That was twice what we expected. That meant shorter assignments for everyone, and we all made quick work of about 12 blocks (250-350 houses) in about an hour or so.
At first, we were making plans to press on even farther. But then about ten minutes later, I felt the wind began to pick up. I decided to call off the additional mapping plans, and begin closing down with what we had done. The skies finally opened up about an hour later, bringing rain as the night came. I began the morning with faith that it would not rain on us, so we could achieve our plans. But it didn't make sense to keep pushing the limits, just because our hopes had been answered.
I think faith and common sense helped build community today. I believed we could finish mapping what we targeted, and with the weather holding we succeeded. Yet we knew when to stop without getting drenched. There were clearly things that I didn't expect, and I was delighted by them.
We had more people than I anticipated on a day that threatened rain And we've never seen groups of residents from different neighborhoods work together to map before. Based on what I've seen today, faith and common sense can be more compatible than what many people assume. And the combination can be amazing.


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