Day 1 – Trip to Lafayette, LA

Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016

I have embarked on a new short adventure.

I had started volunteering in 2005 with Mennonite Disaster Service ( MDS for short ) during the American Thanksgiving because I had found out that it was during this week that they had the hardest time getting volunteers, due to the holiday.

After serving for 6 weeks at 3 different locations this summer, I wasn’t planning on volunteering for disaster service again this year until I found out a month ago that no one had volunteered to serve in Lafayette, Louisianna during the American Thanksgiving week, so I decided to volunteer. I sent out an email letting some people know that I was going and Spencer Miller contacted me to express an interest in going.

At 7 am on Saturday morning, Spencer and I left Niagara on the Lake and headed for Louisiana. We reached the border at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo around 8 am and after presenting our passports and reference letters to the guard, he directed us to the immigration office. During our 20 minute wait in the immigration office, a guard entered the room with a drug sniffing dog and proceeded to walk past all of the chairs in the waiting room. The dog stopped at a seat behind me which made me question if there was anything I had that was attracting his attention. Eventually they gave up and left and it wasn’t long afterwards that we were called forward by a border guard named Aakil, who entered our information into the computer and sent us on our way.

The weather was a cool 10 C (50 F) when we left home but it quickly cooled down even further to 3 C (37 F) and it fluctuated between 0 C (32 F) and 6 C (43 F) during the day as we headed south-west. We had periods of rain, snow and sleet in Ohio but it was mainly dry, cool and overcast in New York, Kentucky and Tennessee. With a change in the Louisville area to Central Time, we eventually stopped for the night in Dickson, Tennessee at 8:30 pm. Just before we stopped for the night, we caught the sunset through the clouds at our last rest stop.


We had stopped a couple of times during the trip for a bite to eat and we had been eating some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and an assorted nut mixture that we had brought along, so we opted to skip supper and get some much needed rest. It is a 9 hour drive from Dickson to our final destination and we wanted to leave by 7 am to make sure that we were there in time for orientation at 7 pm.


4 thoughts on “Day 1 – Trip to Lafayette, LA

  1. Hi Ralf, Looks as though you are MDS bound again! We’ve been ask several times to serve again. Sam had been very sick with pancreatitis and was in the hospital for a week. He has recuperated and is doing very well. We would probably volunteer sometime next year for a 2 week time. We would prefer W Va. not so far from home. Enjoy your time with MDS and don’t work too hard. Your Chambersburg family

    1. Pat,

      I’m sorry to hear that Sam has had some medical setbacks. I hope that he is feeling better now.
      You have done more than your share of volunteering and don’t need to do it anymore unless you feel up to it.
      I wish both of you, all the best.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s