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by Cindi Bigelow

Good to be home...but oh what a moving week I just had!

Just got back from an amazing week down in Johnson City, TN. Wow-I was with 70 outstanding humans in VERY warm conditions. We were part of a group from our area in Connecticut (actually 210 of us in total) that goes into the Appalachian mountains the end of June every year and works on homes. The conditions this year were challenging and the job was a little more difficult than usual but it did not stop my team of two other adult advisor, Barbara and Brendan, and 5 super hero high schools kids, Tommy, Sarah, Sarah, Dan and Kimber.

We stayed at a church and each morning headed out around 9 (woke up at 6:40 to load up the vans with supplies) and worked on a home till about 4 ish. We had many laughs, lots of tears (of love and compassion) and worked hard to help this little home and wonderful couple get a "to a better place." Often we were working in temperatures that were close to 100 degrees. But we did not care...we were excited to get things done!

The improvement to the home was solid but what made the trip extraordinary was the connection to the family. This couple who owned the home really bonded with the team-we had some very meaningful conversations and lots of laughs (and of course lots of tears too). When the week was finally over, we loaded up our vans to come home on Saturday and drove back to our sweet hometown. It was wonderful to be back but we also carry a sadness with us-we miss each other and we miss our family in Appalachia.

It is a week than transforms you, and it is not easy to transition back. But I am so delighted to have gone and made the connections I made. I am already gearing up for next to go...time to make some more teabags and carry around a smile on my face with the thoughts of my experience from last week.

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