What an awesome and full couple of days! I am completely enthralled with the vibrancy of New Orleans; from the people, to the music and to the food. Oh the food! Being here with such an amazing team of fellow Berklee faculty and staff members makes it that much better too.

Site location for Berklee in NOLA 2015

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know colleagues from other areas of the college that I don’t typically work with. (Side note: I highly recommend taking advantage of such opportunities in any community you’re apart of. You won’t regret it!)

Today was day two of working with Habitat for Humanity, down at the intersection of America and Pressburg in East New Orleans. Getting to know the Habitat staff has been equally rewarding. It’s been great to hear their stories; where they’re from, what inspired them to come to New Orleans and why they love their job. They are in the midst of preparing for their first-ever Build-a-Thon. Next week, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, over 400 volunteers will roll into town and attempt to complete 10 houses in 10 days. Cool, right?!

Unfortunately, the Berklee crew will be gone by then. Our tasks this week have largely revolved around helping the staff prepare for the event: cleaning up the street around the work sites, digging trenches for the electric lines to power up the registration tent, and picking up litter and materials around each of the properties. It is “unromantic work” as someone said today, but if there’s one thing I’ve been reminded of, it’s that even these small jobs are important. Every little thing we do helps to drive forward the mission of Habitat for Humanity, to create homes for families in need. That is the most important thing. I have been really proud of everyone here from Berklee being willing to jump in wherever help is needed without complaint. Tomorrow we will show up again, ready and willing to do it all over again. Day three, here we come!

Ashley Macchia
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