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A Million Memories

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Maria with one of the horses at Rescue Ranch

By Maria McFarland; Epsilon Kappa, California State University – Fullerton

Today was our last day of service in New Orleans. Our two car caravan travelled to Rescue Ranch to help with their daily horse duties – mucking out horse stalls and brushing the horses. Miss Lorie created this ranch to help at risk youth and to take in abandoned and surrendered horses. I was definitely out of my comfort zone! We returned to Camp Restore for a much welcomed shower and to get ready for our dinner with the local New Orleans alumnae. Before we left we met for our daily reflection time, and were surprised by a visit from Ashley and Olivia from our Zeta Psi Chapter at Loyola University – New Orleans. They came bearing gifts – a king’s cake, Mardi Gras beads, red carnations and a personal thank you letter from the chapter president, Carrie Burke. We were overwhelmed with their graciousness and poise and their thoughtfulness in their gifts.

The Alumnae GSI group with Ashley & Olivia from Zeta Psi

The Alumnae GSI group with Ashley & Olivia from Zeta Psi

On to an authentic crawfish feast (wearing our new Mardi Gras beads) at Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar with the Gamma Omega Gamma Alumnae Chapter. This was another taste of true Southern Hospitality – with warm welcomes and numerous thanks from them for coming to their city to help. Little did they know we were the ones who were thankful for this wonderful opportunity. The platefuls of boiled crawfish were put in front of us and we learned very quickly how to eat those little red crustaceans, while enjoying lively conversation with our NOLA sisters. We all loved the fried green tomatoes too. As we departed, we were given bags filled with New Orleans specialties – pralines, Tabasco sauce, creole seasonings, magnets, coasters and another personal thank you note from the alumnae chapter.

What has this trip meant to me? A million memories with 11 amazing women who I barely knew four days ago, learning about a historic city and how the tragedy of Katrina impacted nearly everyone in this area and deepening my love for our bond. I am so glad I was selected to be a part of this inaugural Alumnae Global Service Initiative!

AGSI participants with Gamma Omega Gamma, New Orleans alumnae chapter, at the crawfish boil

AGSI participants with Gamma Omega Gamma, New Orleans alumnae chapter, at the crawfish boil

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