Last Saturday, I woke up early and headed towards the Union building to participate in Luther’s annual fall fling program, organized by the college ministries. Getting out of bed was particularly hard that morning, as my bed was particularly comfortable and as it was quite chilly and gloomy outside… perfect weather to sleep in. However, I still managed to drag myself all the way to the Union and gulp down two cups of coffee before being sorted into a group for the Fall Fling.
But first, let me tell you a bit about the fall fling program. It is a program organized by the college ministries, where students volunteer to help the elderly in Decorah with their yard work and other chores in preparation for winter. With all of the leaves falling down and whatnot, there is a lot of to be done at every single house, and folks who think they might need help with their preparation for winter sign up with the college. Students sign up, are sorted into five to six groups, and go up to the houses to help. On top of the wonderful community vibe, all donations made by the community goes into charities set up towards mitigating the Syrian refugee crisis.
My group and I were assigned a house which was an eight minute walk from the campus… not something I was looking forward to in that weather. We were lucky as the campus pastor, Mike Blair, offered us a ride to the house to Bob and Linda Waldman’s home. After some brief introductions we went straight to work. We had two tasks in hand; dealing with the leaves and moving some logs of wood nearer to the house so that they can be used in the fireplace during winter. I decided to go for moving the wood, because that just seemed a lot more fun than raking leaves.
While working, I found that the best thing about this program was the opportunity to engage with people outside the Luther campus. It was very refreshing to meet some new people who were not going to school and did not have the pressures of deadlines. The entire time we were moving logs, I was talking to Bob and telling him about the Maldives. In return, he told me many stories of how he moved to Decorah around 35 years ago and described how the town looked like then.
After about two of hours working, we went inside the house where the Waldmans had prepared a mini brunch for us. We spent another hour sharing stories as all of the students in my group were International students. Sadly it was time to leave soon after that. Bob offered us a ride back to campus because he did not want us to walk all the way in the chilly weather. It was then I realized that I was only wearing a hoodie and had been outside this whole time. I guess you don’t really think about how cold it is when you are having a good time and enjoying the company around you.
Hope you have an amazing week,