I went to the Libbey Park construction site in Ojai, CA, as a volunteer today.
From Ojai Valley School there were only five female volunteers, including myself.
Wearing dark green OVS T-shirts, the volunteers checked in and drank Gatorade, having no idea what to do.
Ally Su, one of the five girls, expected the volunteer work to be taking care of little kids.
However, what was waiting for her were a huge pile of mulch, shovels, and wheelbarrows.
At first, we had fun.
Mr. Alvarez, our peacekeeper, came to us after parking the school van and took pictures of us shoveling, and we would make stupid poses and faces.
However, as the photographer left and we continued the work, it became more and more painful.
“I think we are going to get blisters on our hands,” Said Ally. Thirty minutes from then, I could see an already-popped blister on my palm.
After repeating filling and emptying the wheelbarrows for about an hour, we became all exhausted. Our faces had layers of dirt on them, and our hands had turned red.
We found ourselves the only ones working without gloves. We’ve been complaining about it the whole time, and I found out that we were actually the only ones who did not know that we could get them from the tool check-in center behind us.
We had pizza with lemonade for lunch, wanting to go back home. However, there came a truck with another pile of mulch. Sighing, we got back to work.
The teenage girls had become shoveling experts at some point. We shoveled so fast that we had to wait for other workers to make more space to pour the mulch.
“Stephanie [Shin] found her future job,” Said Ally Su.
After half an hour of eating and two hours of shoveling, we headed back home.
First, we drove to Ally’s house only to find it locked.
Then, we went to Starbucks and met another school van with Mrs. Cooper in it.
After we got our drinks, Mr. Alvarez dropped Ally off at her house, “shh-ing” when she tried to tell him the directions.
As soon as I got back on campus, I took a shower and found two things: dirty water coming off of my body and another blister on my thumb.