What a beautiful part of the country! Our group of 14 Holy Cross students split up each day to help out in various ways around Whitley City, KY, in one of the poorest counties in the U.S.
What we did in our spare time at night--->>>
Many of the residents abuse drugs and alcohol, live of of social security checks and food pantries, and are accustomed to domestic violence. Most of the natives we met lived off of low income and had very little to call their home. What they had plenty of, however, was kindness and laughter. I assisted in repairing the Darling family's dilapidated house for two days and in talking to Karen Darling, the mother of the house, became much more familiar with the ways of the mountains. Most of us value our education as a means of earning a college degree, climbing the corporate ladder and planning for retirement, but the locals have an invaluable education of knowing how to survive. Karin told me all about how she knows when her chickens will lay eggs, identifying which chicken will sit and raise chicks while the rest lay eggs for the Darlings to eat. She knew how to pickle vegetables and cook squirrel, seal jars of jam and stewed apples, and how to hang clothes to dry in the winter. She said herself that she was a 'pack rat' and thought it completely normal to save scraps and trash that littered their house and its front yard.
A few kids in our group with the Darlings-->>>
Midway through the bathroom renovation
at the Darlings
On the last day my group hiked Eagle Falls, part of a national park in Kentucky that winds through forests and has amazing water views of the Cumberland River.