Friday, August 22, 2008

Mission Story #8: What's that smell?

It was Monday afternoon. We'd been on the road since Friday morning. We'd already spent two nights in Antioch and one in San Francisco. We had 14 peoples' luggage, sleeping bags, and personal bags, we had instruments and games and footballs. We were trying to keep track of a lot of stuff. So nobody really noticed the two black bags on the van floor. They must belong to somebody, right? Or they must have important stuff in them, right?

So, back to Monday. We'd served lunch and organized the clothing shop at St. Anthony's. We'd finished the Meet-A-Need project (see yesterday). We were in the van, heading over to Naan-and-Curry for Indian food.

And everybody noticed that the van was starting to smell a little ripe.

I had noticed it earlier, but chalked it up to 8 people traveling 800 miles in an enclosed space. Add in the little pieces of trash that were collecting. And include the history of the van: it was old, it was regularly used to transport food for our church's homeless outreaches. I just figured we were smelling the remnants of all that.

But the kids in the back said it really stunk back there. And they started wondering about those black bags laying on the floor, the ones nobody had yet claimed. Those black. . .trash. . .bags. Which, upon further investigation, we discovered were full of. . .trash.

Backtrack the story.

It's Thursday night, the night before we leave, and people are dropping off their stuff to be loaded into the vehicles. Some of that stuff is packed nicely in duffel bags and suitcases; other stuff is shoved into trash bags and stuff sacks. So when Roshni notices two black trash bags by the Jeep, she assumes they're somebody's stuff. Just to be sure, she asks about them. I am in the midst of packing, and, not seeing what she's asking about, say "throw them in!" And so a week's worth of the Whitmarsh's trash (including dirty diapers) ends up underneath all the luggage. And traveling with us all the way to San Francisco. And festering for three days in the van.

Yep, that's us. We're the team who brings our trash with us!

Poor McKenzie must have wondered what kind of group she was forced to spend the week with, a group that carries its own trash across state lines.

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