Last day before I head back to Toronto and it saddens me to leave such a family oriented, caring, very friendly and cultural city of New Orleans.  I have learned so much from this two-week experience physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Physically I’ve learned many rebuilding skills that I hope to use someday to assist building my home and assist others who may need help with their home.  Spiritually I’ve gained more faith and hope in humanity for everyone to care and take care of each other as a family.  Emotionally I’ve felt great appreciation from everyone in New Orleans from homeowners, AmeriCorps, St. Bernard Project, volunteer organizations, council chair and the people in the communities.  As a result I feel proud of myself to have done such a good deed in helping those who are in need by rebuilding their homes and their lives back because I know someday if I am in need I know there are amazing, helpful and caring people out there that will help me in any way possible.  Coming to New Orleans I did not have any expectations at all and did not know many people.  Although now that I am leaving for Toronto I have seen the most beautiful wildlife, heard amazing jazz music, tasted the best southern food, met very friendly locals and people from other states and countries, rebuilt a home from scratch, heard heart-felt stories in regards to their experience to hurricane Katrina, seen, heard and felt the community’s optimism, appreciation and love towards all volunteers and last but not least created memorable and great friendships with amazing people.  Hearing last year’s group experience with their group members I agree that great friendships can be made in little time no matter what your differences are for that in New Orleans everyone is open to becoming one as a family.  After hearing Paul Perez during the slide show presentation at the volunteer dinner I too believe that there are angels on this earth for they are the people who help and care for those in need.  I can now say that I have worked, talked, laughed, hugged, ate, sang and danced with angels.  Thank you to everyone in my group, Tanya and Pascal for being such great angels on this earth.  Lastly, open your hearts and come to New Orleans and help in rebuilding people’s lives by starting with their home because until now 5 years after the hurricane the city has not yet fully recovered and they need all the help they can get. 

Mara     

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