Austin 2 -- Women's Advocacy

Hey! 3 days of blogging coming your way. Sorry, wifi has been spotty.  


Sunday Schedule: Free Day in Austin!


FOOODDDDD!!!! Today was a day of food and activities. We ate, hiked, ate, hiked, and ate! Yum. Austin is a great place for any foodie, which we definitely all are.


We started the day with brunch at Magnolia's, a local brunch staple. We filled up on pancakes, eggs Florentine, parfaits, salmon and omelets decorated like the Mexican flag.



After we were good and full, we decided to work it all off going hiking. We are a unique trip because not only is our group staying in Austin, but so is another MAB group. So, all 23 of us decided to take on the Green Belt. Together we drove to Barton Creek in the Westlake Hills area and ventured into the woods. Pretty soon we were playing in the river and climbing trees. We didn't get much hiking done, but we had fun exploring. If you want to see more pictures and videos, check out our twitter @MAB_Austin2.


After hiking we decided to check out some local food trucks and discovered Austin's one of a kind food truck trailer park! We were in heaven surrounded by the famous Torchy's tacos, chocolate cake shakes, and sourdough donuts and veggie filled wraps.



We left the trailer park just in time to catch the sunset at Mount Bonnell, the highest point in Austin.  After hiking up some stairs, we had a beautiful 360 view to see the lights of downtown Austin along the river.


We returned to our home, the YMCA of Townlake, to play games like ping-pong, Mafia and Heads Up. We ended the night stuffing our faces at Jack Allen's a local sourced farm to table restaurant where we had beef potpie, rainbow trout, spicy pasta and burgers.


After all of that, we were completely exhausted and went home to fall into bed, or rather fall onto our yoga mats for a giant 23 person sleep over.


Quote of the Day: "We promise we're not just here for the food."


Service Schedule for Monday: Safe Place in the morning, Casa Marianella in the evening


            Ever watch something on TV and swear you know everything about everything? Well that's how I felt before volunteering today. Ignorantly, I assumed that people at the locations would be grumpy and annoyed that we were in their space. I was completely wrong. When we all first climbed out of the van we were approached by a resident with the biggest grin, thanking us and shaking our hands. The coordinator took us to a room where she explained what Casa Marienella was. She then randomly summoned three people to come in and talk to us. They all openly told us their story. I learned so much, but ironically they wanted advice from us. After carefully thinking I told them, "Keep the same faith you had when you started off and keep going. Don't let anybody ever make you feel like it is not your right to be here. Also continue to educate yourselves. Lastly educate others, because we simply do not know what you go through."

            One of our tasks was to take down Christmas decorations. A peer and I were having a hard time getting lights out of a tree when a resident (Elvis), excitedly came to help us. Later that day he sat down and told us his story of how he got to America and what he had to go through. He showed us pictures and politely answered any questions we asked.  Overall, attending this site made me experience so many different emotions; I got sad, laughed, and fought back tears.  My favorite part of it all was knowing we get to go back tomorrow!


Quote of the day: "The best gift you can give is not your labor, it's your listening."



Service Schedule for Tuesday: Safe Place in the morning, Casa Marianella in the evening


            Columbia doesn't really see the amount of poverty or homelessness that cities like Austin see. We often forget how much work it goes into running shelters and safe housing spaces for people in those communities. Today we started our morning in Safe Place again. To be honest, I was skeptical of what we would do, but that was soon changed when I saw their warehouse. Shelves upon shelves were filled with random things that may come in handy for anyone. Our task was to help sort all of the gift donations that were given throughout the holiday season. There were huge industrial bins filled with wrapped presents. That was the biggest task. Safe Place asked for gifts to be unwrapped so we spent the most time unwrapping the gifts, sorting them, and the throwing the trash away.

             I thought this would be so boring, but the time flew by and we spent it doing something that felt like a second Christmas and not like actual service work. Painting fences was fun and all, but sorting presents and seeing the progress of emptying out bins (and climbing in them). We also worked as a team and strengthened our friendships, so that was an added bonus.


Quote of the Day: "We are all human, all one family on this planet earth." 


Peace and Love  

Ashley Cole
University of Missouri
Trulaske College of Business 
International Business | Economics
(816) 465-1513

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