That is me on the right with the McMs. Long time readers will remember them as our amazing hosts for the 2005 - Brasil team, which was the second ever international SPACE trip, and my first international SPACE team. They are an amazing family and I was lucky enough to have lunch with them last week while they were visiting from Londrina, Brasil. I know that we are going to get to work together again sometime in the next few years.
We always meant for that experience to have long term impact. Our initial goal was to catalyze more relationships with high school students for the McMs to continue on with, which took the form of a culture exchange between American and Brasilian students. We also spent a day together working on a shared project, cleaning and fixing up a community park. That included fixing a cable crossing climbing fixture, and some light landscaping which included planting some new plants.
After three years, the McMs are still having deep relationships with some of those students we all first meet in 2005, including the ones that went off to University and some of the students' parents. That same cable crossing is still there and kids still play on it. Some of those plants have died, some were run over by lawn mowers and some were stolen. But, there are three or four of them that are still alive.
Three years later, we still have some plants and we still have some good friends. We are still tracking the next 497.