In May 2009 my group was the initial group to go to New Orleans to help with the rebuild, and there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think about our experience there. It’s been 2 years and I still can’t get it out of my mind. Do I want to get it out of my mind? NEVER!! But it’s also sad to think about New Orleans because the time spent there can never be duplicated. I think everyone whoever’s been there as a class can resonate with this feeling.
We were there to rebuild homes and that’s what we did. I can remember the first house we did, and we polished that off in a day, when it was supposed to take two. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of fun. We were rewarded with a lovely lunch (who remembers that carrot cake yum!!!) I can remember the demolition crew and us killing ourselves in the sweltering heat, but it was all worth it for that final moment when the shed came down.
The damage that we witnessed 4 years after Katrina was insane, I don’t think any of us believed it would still be that bad, and I think that was a motivating factor that kept us pushing, day in and day out. It still baffles me how a country such as the United States could abandon its own. The images that I witnessed on tv when the disaster was taking place, only hit me harder when visiting the same places that were destroyed.
I may not see or talk to anyone as much as I would like, other than randomly seeing Ahmed or Said downtown, but we’re still a family. Our second mom Tanya had it pretty rough, in those days there was no Pascal so she had to deal with all of us, and we stressed her out (you know what I’m referring to). But for her to put together this brilliant idea still amazes me. In many ways, the tragedy of Katrina brought together a group of people who may have never met before to accomplish so much.