College spring break has come to be associated with sunny beaches, fruity drinks, and lazy college kids in bathing suits. My spring break, however, has been filled with 45-minute trips to Walmart, ramen noodles, and flea-infested beds.


I signed up for a program called alternative spring break (ASB) with my sorority. 12 of us were going to take a road trip down to Crank’s Creek, Kentucky and spend a week building porches, painting walls, and volunteering our time in other ways to help fix up the struggling rural community. But after driving for 11 hours and getting lost in Tennessee, we couldn’t find the center we were lodging at. We drove around aimlessly without cell phone reception for about 30 minutes, when someone finally got a hold of someone. He asked how we could have possibly missed the survival center’s sign.

The room we were to sleep in was small, cramped, and rather dirty.





A baby doll was nailed upside-down to the wall, serving some unknown purpose while frightening those who had to use the restroom.










My comrades upon discovering the mattresses we were supposed to be sleeping on were infested with FLEAS. We could not sleep in those beds without compromising our health, security, and without the risk of bringing an immense flea epidemic back to Ann Arbor with us.


Rendezvous at a Walmart in Virginia 45 minutes away, the closest location with cell phone reception. We called our ASB coordinator, desperate for her advice. She said to deal with it or come home.


Flea Spray, a photo that summarizes the great struggle against the fleas Kentucky had presented us with.




We could not properly fumigate the beds without giving ourselves cancer, so we slept in a variety of other more creative locations. This is a picture an acquaintance took of me sleeping on the kitchen table.










A local canine sleeping an a creative location as well, with bits of sawdust to keep him warm.




The cows loomed in the distance, indifferent to the plight of the flea-fearing sorority girls.





This lone dog seems to judge my comrades and I for sleeping in vans and on tables.




There was not much food to eat…just snacks really. The cell phone sandwich was an attempt to dry out a phone dropped into the bathtub, but serves as a metaphor. The non-serviced cell phones were useless in Kentucky, and would have served us better to eat than to contact anybody.


The Salamander, a terrifying monster of a machine that kept us from freezing to death while we painted the inside of a trailer after a sleepless night, wondering where we were going to sleep next.