You could see it on the boys’ faces this morning at breakfast. The reality has set in that this is a week-long trip, and the majority is still ahead of us. Today’s challenge had less to do with the actual tasks and more to do with herding the cats to actually do the tasks. We worked so well yesterday that we left little for us to do today.
The highlight of the work day was the very first thing we did - taking care of those pesky bees. We brought a can of bee-killer spray and used the whole thing. Stay tuned for the hilarious footage of 13 year old boys acting like 4 year old girls, screaming and running for their lives. We also made a trip to Home Depot to get a few bags of mulch. Aliene’s garden beds look great!
Every Wednesday at the Pittsburgh Project is Homeowner Night! Every staff member says it is their favorite night of the week, and for a good reason. Every work group invites their homeowner to come back with them to TPP’s campus for dinner and Club. We get a chance to say thank you to them, and they get a chance to thank us. Many tears and hugs are usually shared! Aliene was kind enough to join us tonight, and we were happy to play host to her.
We’ve been talking about Aliene all week, I figure it’s time you learn a little more about her. Aliene is an 86 year old widow, who lives in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. The Hill District was once a mecca for jazz musicians, who defined the neighborhood with their art. Today, the jazz clubs that once lined the streets have either been boarded up or torn down and replaced with row houses. The neighborhood has aged along with it’s people, and many are living in poverty.
Aliene and her late husband built their house in 1971, and have lived there ever since. When her husband fell sick 10+ years ago, her daughter Joelle moved in to help take care of him. Since he passed, Joelle stuck around to help her aging mother. Fast forward ten years, both Aliene and Joelle are living with cancer. Joelle does not seem to be doing well with her pancreatic cancer, and relies on Aliene heavily. Aliene’s leukemia is progressing very slowly, and she remains quite active and nimble on her feet. She has been doing as much weeding as the rest of us, and she even demonstrated how to work the power edger!
For 44 years, Aliene has called this her home, but she can no longer keep up with it while taking constant care of her daughter and herself. [ENTER]: the Pittsburgh Project. A home is a point of pride for many, and seeing it crumble around you is demoralizing. TPP restores the dignity and humanity by making elderly people's home a safe and comfortable environment for them. We are so proud to be a part of that this week. It has been wonderful to get to know Aliene and to serve her by taking care of her home.
We have one more day of work ahead of us! Since we are nearly done with our projects at Aliene's home, we'll be helping the group nearby with some yard work and painting. Please continue to pray for us! Specifically, pray for Brett, as he has been feeling under the weather since around dinner time. He has been sleeping it off and improving, but we know that God can bring him complete restoration!
Danae is the Director of Youth Ministries at KIUMC. She has a B.A. in Culinary Arts and Service Management from Paul Smiths College in Paul Smiths, NY. She has attended KIUMC for the past 8 years. Danae enjoys cooking, spending time with family and friends, and is a complete Disney Fanatic.