As the song suggests “it’s so hard to say goodbye”. Goodbyes are definitely one of the hardest things to do in life. As I sat and ate my last meal with the people that have become my best friends in the last 2 weeks I was overcome with mixed emotions. Just thinking back to the day when we first did our first introductions and how timid and unaware most of were to the last day on the job when we were basically perfecting our dry-walling skills and working so assiduously to make someone’s life and community a better place. It was a great experience to be part of an amazing team and working cohesively for the common goal of bringing families back home. There are so many memories which I really don’t want to let go of but I know it’s very important in moving forward. One of the most important things that I have learnt from the trip is that the work does not end today or the day we live New Orleans. The onus is on us as individuals who have had firsthand experience and knowledge of the situation as well as the displacement there to spread the word to others in order to develop an awareness of the situation at hand. I definitely believe that a better understanding will lead to more support for the people of the area.

Every aspect of the trip was marvellous from the wide variety of dishes that I ate and the warm culture which openly accepted us. To all the other volunteers who I worked with as well as the site supervisors it was all good times. Interacting with the locals from St. Bernard and hearing their different experiences during and post Katrina was also a force to reckon with. As I drive out of Louisiana I am quite sad but I will definitely make an extra effort to remember all the things I learnt and the people that I met and also to never forget Nola because even though the city has come a long way there is still a lot of work to be done. In closing I leave you with the Saints pledge of allegiance

I pledge allegiance to the Saints,

And the city of New Orleans,

And the Super Bowl,

Which we will win,

One city, under sea level,

With Mardi Grass

And alcohol for all

AMEN  & Who Dat?

Shantae

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