This morning Mark and I headed to Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) where Sue was going to show us around. On our way, we noticed that many on the homes had clothes hanging on clotheslines. Apparently, Mondays are wash days.
As we were watching, this clothesline full of diapers (?) moved a bit toward our left. Apparently the clothes were still being put up.
We arrived at MCC and the receptionist called Sue for us. Thus began a grand tour. Sue showed us everything.
Upon arrival, Mark took my picture.
MCC has been in existence for 95 years. This display in the library holds gifts from around the world.
MCC’s goals, which are posted everywhere around the building, are to offer relief, to help with development, and to promote peace.
Sue was explaining to us about the programs people can volunteer for: SALT is for young single Americans who want to work in other countries, IVEP is for people from other countries who want to volunteer in the US, and YAMEN! is for people in one country who want to volunteer in another country. These volunteers make a one-year commitment.
SEED is a two-year commitment. These volunteers can be married. Then there’s another program with three-year volunteers who are managed by five-year volunteers.
Sue works in the program department and this is her desk.
Sue took us to see inside one of the guest houses where volunteers stay for training before being sent out. The different guest houses are themed by the parts of the world MCC works in. This is the Africa House.
The bedrooms are simple but nice.
There is a dining room building. As soon as Sue led us in, Mark and I both exclaimed that something smelled good!
After we had looked around MCC’s campus, Sue took us in her car to see some other things Mennonites are doing.
This is where Kevin works, in the IT department. Kevin is a programmer for Ten Thousand Villages, which is a fair trade store. This building is just for the administrative aspect of it.
Then Sue took us to the Material Resources Center.
This is the reception area. The woman standing in the doorway coordinates all the volunteers who come here to work. I think she said they get something like 17,000 volunteers a year, although some of those are people who come on a regular basis.
They can food to send to areas that need relief.
Volunteers weave placemats and area rugs to sell. They use everything from leftover seam binding to T-shirts, and this woman was even going to try twine.
This is an infant care kit. I didn’t get to see what is inside, but I believe the wrapping is a diaper.
Then they bundle up a bunch of infant care kits to send to areas that need relief. I also saw bundles of blankets, comforters, hygiene kits, and school kits.
When books are donated to MCC, they sort out the good ones to sell on eBay. The ones that aren’t good enough to sell, they cut the spine off and recycle the pages. They can get money for recycling paper. Sue says they also take newspapers, so rather than recycling her newspapers at home, she brings them to work with her for them to get money from.
This is the sewing room. This woman is working on a comforter that needs to be tied yet.
This woman was telling us that there was going to be a Mennonite conference where they were anticipating 10,000 participants within a year and a half. They asked the sewing department to make 10,000 bags for the conference as well as another project, and this woman did the math and said that with the number of sewing machines and volunteers they had, it would take three years to make that many items. Miraculously they had everything made by the time of the conference. The bags have shoulder straps made from ties. Sue said that one man had to go to a business meeting after the conference and he had packed his suit, but he had forgotten to pack a tie. He cut the tie off his conference bag and used it!
Volunteers also come to quilt. This is where I’d like to volunteer some day!
This is the quilting room and they also sell fabrics and fat quarters. Sue bought me a fat quarter. Thank you so much, Sue!
While we were there we heard an announcement that it was lunch time. Everyone in the building went to the lunch room. Sue says they get a half hour to eat and then a speaker comes and talks with them about something. Sue has talked to them a few times about the programs MCC has going on.
For our lunch, Sue took Mark and I to the dining room at the Ten Thousand Villages store. The food was good and the fellowship was even better!
We also had an opportunity to look around the store. I told Sue, “I want one of everything!”
Sue roused Paul Manikam and had him come out to meet us. When I last saw him at Portland Mennonite Church he was just a boy. Now he’s married and working at MCC!
When we left Sue, we drove an hour and a half to Gettysburg. I had been there in 1976 and I wanted to take Mark there to see it. We only had a short time, so we opted to do the self-directed driving tour with a map and each chose a site we wanted to see. Mark selected the Soldier’s Cemetary, which turned out to be for soldiers from other wars as well.
I think this is Harrisburg.
Gettysburg National Military Park: Museum and Visitor Center
The National Soldiers Cemetery
About half of the soldiers that were buried after the battle at Gettysburg couldn’t be identified.
This monument stands where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.
For my selection, I chose the Little Round Top. Mark and I had watched a movie about that battle and I wanted to see what the ground looked like. This was a battle over the high ground which would give whoever had it the advantage. The Union beat the Confederates there and the various regiments strung out around it to hold it. The 20th Maine regiment was at the end of the line and they were told to “hold the ground at all hazards!” If they let their end fall, the Confederates could come in behind the line and attack the rest of the troops.
A statue surveying the view from the top of Little Round Top.
The rest of the story…
A marker showing the line the 20th Maine held
And as the sun sank slowly in the west, we turned for the hour and a half drive back to our place.