Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Bernard Project celebrates 200th home

March 18th

Wow. Being in New Orleans for 6 days now, I still cannot comprehend how this city is up and running and how people are actually living here. Before coming down here, I had only heard about the flood. I saw pictures, videos, and heard stories – but once I was actually standing on New Orleans ground, I could really see the devastation. When we first started driving to our hostel, I was in shock. It didn’t even seem like we were in America. You drive down the street and see a few buildings. One is new and looks like it had never been ruined, one is rusty and has a few of those treacherous X’s on it, and one is boarded up and ready to be demolished. It is amazing to me that 3 and a half years after the storm took place some buildings are still in the same state. Sometimes, when we are driving to our next destination, I just look out the window in utter shock. I feel like I am not in a real place – which I am in some sort of simulator that placed me in a city of complete poverty and devastation. Sometimes as I am working in a house, either gutting or mudding walls, I forget where I am and what I am actually doing. I forget that I am rebuilding someone’s house – a person that was affected so greatly by Katrina that they were left with nothing. No money, no house, no nothing. I have listened to the people with these stories, and I have learned so much. I have never heard of or seen such sadness, devastation, and poverty. These people have inspired me to never even think of taking advantage of the life I have.


It’s the last few days of our trip and I cannot believe it is almost over. To me it feels like just yesterday was Friday and we were just arriving here in New Orleans. Being here, helping out and listening to all the stories, I wish I could stay here for longer. Today we were at the 200th house opening of a new house and I just want to be able to work on a house and see the resident all happy that they have a new place to live. Even though I did not work on this house, I just felt happy being part of the volunteer service here in New Orleans. It is sad to be leaving but I am also leaving here happy. Happy because I have done so much work, but sad because I have to stop working. Hopefully in the future I will be able to come down again to do anything that needs to be done.


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