Melissa Gibilaro (left), Peace and Justice Coordinator with Chloe Martin (right)

Chloe Martin recently returned from a five-day service trip in New Orleans at the House of Charity. Chloe had previously participated in the Living Charity Volunteer Program in New Orleans in 2016.

Here is what she shared on social media about her experience:

“My heart is full returning to Halifax. I made some connections and friendships I do hope to keep as I appreciate the sense of community we created and the laughter we shared. I am sad to see the trip end but it’s not goodbye, it’s just see you next time. This trip taught me a lot, and although I’ve done this trip before, you constantly grow.

I’ve learned patience with others and myself. I’ve learned you can tackle the unimaginable if you have an amazing team to help you through.

Everyone stayed positive even when we were knocked down, we got back up. I’ve learned that you have to come out of your comfort zone to be true to yourself.

I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how long after a disaster, you never truly heal, healing isn’t linear and New Orleans is a great reminder of that.

[I am] truly inspired by those who I’ve come into contact with that have been personally affected by Hurricane Katrina, and those I’ve had the opportunity to work along side in order to be part of bringing a family home, a community and rebuilding New Orleans.

I’m beyond grateful and focusing on being present. The quality of presence in everyday life is truly important. I’m beyond thankful for this experience, and I hope to be back as I have become fascinated and drawn to the culture and beauty of New Orleans. 
 Till next time.”

Chloe also shared a post about community:

“This is an important lesson I am taking away from my New Orleans experience as we created a community to help share the pain of their culture/community while also participating in the happy aspects of their faith, perseverance and culture. They let others help them pick up the pieces years after years while still sharing their joy and love for New Orleans. Truly important to feel part of a community and although we may be apart now, they will always be a community in my heart.”