Friday, July 6, 2012

A Yankee Ventures South

Growing up in Montana thousands of miles from the Mason-Dixon Line, my teachers focused on the Lewis & Clark expedition, mountain men like Jim Bridger, and the powerful Copper Kings of Butte and Anaconda.  My exposure to the South was limited to the pages in our history texts that talked about the Civil War.  So when a friend called in February and asked me to join her in Georgia for a Global Village team leader training weekend, I jumped at the chance.  Visions of fried food and porch rocking chairs danced through my head.

As we arrived in Americus, a rural town that just happens to be the headquarters for Habitat for Humanity, I wasn't disappointed.

We found lots of fried foods,

just in time for fried pickles

fried grits

I didn't try the scramble dogs and I don't know what they are, but I'm sure they're fried!

Porches with rocking chairs

These chairs looked so inviting that we just went up on the porch to try them out....A bit embarrassing when the owner came out!

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And peaches (of sorts) and cotton.

lots of peach references in GA

the first cotton field I've ever seen!

Over the weekend, I learned a lot more about HFH (over 1.75 million people helped since 1976), how to build team unity (trivia games with Pepto-Bismol as prizes are a hit, evidently) and what to do just in case a civil war breaks out while on a build abroad...I must admit that I was starting to think about dinner when that last one was discussed so hopefully this will never happen when I'm in charge!

We toured the Global Village & Discovery Center's exhibit on inadequate housing around the world,

along with their exhibit showing model homes HFH volunteers have built around the world.

We visited the HFH main buildings.

some pretty big hands to fill

And we had some downtime to just sit on the front porch swing at the HFH volunteer house and watch the neighborhood kids playing outside

while the neighborhood cat watched over us.

At the end of the weekend, I probably didn't learn anything new about the history of the South and I'll always be more interested in Sacagawea than in a southern belle.  However, I did fall in love with praline pecans and I probably still have some grease from fried grits coursing through my arteries.  Best of all, I qualified to be a GV team leader and signed on to lead a build in Brazil at the end of July.

If only we had spent a little more time studying Brazil back in Montana!

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