Ms. Wilma

Hey Y’all

  Naomi in the kitchen

Naomi in the kitchen

I am enjoying Miami immensely, although it is unlike any city I have ever lived in before. Our house is a small one floor, 4 bedroom house for the 11 of us. There are bars on the windows, and barbed wire fences on two of the sides . We are the only white peolple in our neighborhood, and we stand out due to our uniforms and government vehicle.

When we first arrived two little boys walked up to us and asked us “What went down?”

  Whitney on an air matress

Whitney on an air matress

(due to our govnt vehicle and militaryesque uniforms). we then explained that we were the new neighbors, and their response was “Y’all white?” We asked if it was a problem, and they chimed “yeah”.

It is an interesting experience being a minority. I mean down here I am one because I’m Jewish. But I have never been in a place where my skin color is the minority. I think that it will be good for me.

Also, almost everyone speaks Spanish. I am trying to practice, but I have found that I am very rusty. I hope by the end I can carry on a decent conversation.

  Ernesto, our sponsor

Ernesto, our sponsor

Our project sponsors are the nicest people ever. They are hilarious, accommodating, and very knowledgeable about their given fields. They make sure we understand exactly why we are doing what we are doing. The last 3 days have been spent pickingup a huge amount of trash along the coast that was washed ashore from the hurricanes. I can never look styrofoam in the face ever again.The stuff we find is disgusting, and the work is tedious, but

our sponsors make it fun by joking around with us. They are both immigrants from Cuba. They are

helping us with our Spanish, and they want our help with English. They are going to take us Salsa dancing next weekend, and cook for us.

  Naomi and Joy clean up

Naomi and Joy clean up

Next week we get to start actually working on the Virginia Key. We will be removing invasive plant species and educating the local community about the harms of exotic plants.

Last weekend we exhausted to our house, and explored Miami. It is a beautful city, although there are parts (including the neighborhood we live in) that we are advised not to walk at night. We went to a night club and danced to reggaeton and I was reminded of Spain (shout out to my Spainers).

So now we are preparing for the arrival of hurricane Wilma which is currently a 5 off the coast of Cuba. We are waiting for official orders, but it looks as though we will be evacuated to south Georgia. If we aren’t evacuated, our house is pretty safe for hurricanes. We can board up the windows, and since it is a one story, flat roofed house, it is fairly safe for hurricanes. I will keep my parents informed about my whereabouts, and I will have my cell phone (but I may lose service due to the storm).

 Meredith, Joy, and me in Miami Beach

Meredith, Joy, and me in Miami Beach

I feel safe and like I am in good hands, so don’t worry.

Keep writing, I love hearing from y'all

love,

Alena