Work and More Work
I've returned from my week of travel. Our time in New Orleans was an amazing experience. For one, the community that was formed by our college students was incredible. Someone pointed out, "These are not people who would hang out together." But they made a great community as we worked and played together.
My particular work group ended up spending our entire week gutting one house. Every time we thought that we were getting somewhere, we found that there was another layer of destruction that we had to work through. It was particularly tough for many of the groups to find that the houses we are trying to restore should have been demolished, in our outside opinion. One group tried to hang drywall, but found that the studs of the houses were crooked. Our group discovered that part of the house was being held up by 1x8 inch boards. We almost broke it down, and brought the roof down with it!
The workload in the Gulf Coast is overwhelming. I believe that Hurricane Katrina has fallen into the back of many of our minds. There are other bits of news to follow. However, the need still exists for help.
We learned that one volunteer hour is worth $17.50. That money is taken off the FEMA bill to the state of Louisiana. In on respect, it doesn't seem like much, but it is a quantifiable measurement of what sort of impact we have when we choose to work in a particular area.
We have also learned to marvel at the people who have been able to piece together lives in the midst of such tragedy and frustration. If we were frustrated in a week, I can't imagine what the residents must be feeling.
I hope that we can continue to return to the Gulf Coast to re-build the city. They need us, and we learn and grow so much by working with them.