Thibodaux Louisiana Mission Trip Reflection


David Smith

Before I went on this mission trip, I promised myself I’d only listen to the blues while I was down there. I thought I wasn’t going to meet or talk to anyone; I didn’t even know other schools were going. I was anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. By the end of it, I promised myself something new–I was going to talk more to people and be more outgoing. Now, I’ll tell you about how I came to that conclusion. 

While I was packing, I started to think about how I got there. Was I really ready? Was I good enough? The most persistent out of all the self-doubting questions was why I was chosen out of all the people in the school. The only details I had were the time and date we were leaving and where we were going–Thibodaux, Louisiana. I wanted to ensure I had everything, so I packed twice what I felt I’d need. When we got to the airport, we checked in and went through security. It was the first time I was at the airport without a parent, though Mrs. Doddato has always been like a parent to me. We got on the plane. The ride was about three hours, but it felt like five because of the lack of service and my broken monitor. I was without any kind of music or noise.

When the plane finally levelled out, the thin air made it hard to breathe. However, the sky was much more beautiful than New York. When we landed, a bus came from E.D. White, a historic site, and our first stop was a Chick-Fil-A within the campus of Nicholls University. This was where we first met the Louisianan kids who attended Vanderbilt High. The adults noticed that the boys were sitting with the boys and the girls with the girls, so they tried to mix us. Later, we participated in icebreakers to remember each other’s names. 

The next day we officially started our week, which was three days of work and two days of relaxation. Although, everyone felt like even the work days counted as vacation. Our first project was at an elderly couple’s house who needed painting done. On the second day, we worked on a homeless shelter that needed outside painting. On the third and last work day, we worked on another person’s house. Her name was Ms. Judy, and she is probably the nicest person you could ever meet. We had to rip down her walls and ceilings because they had gotten wet during the storm and developed mold. During the last two days, we went to an alligator farm and spent time in the French quarter of New Orleans. Then, we said our goodbyes and drove to the airport. 

This was one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. It was inspiring to help those in need, and it made me want to help people even more. I still keep in contact with some of the friends I met there. In addition, I finally faced my fear of talking to people. During this trip, I learned that most people don’t bite, so don’t be afraid to voice your opinion.