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For the past two days we have been volunteering.  The first day I was working with Beacon of hope, which was at Rebecca’s house.  Rebecca is a homeowner that, with the help of Beacon of Hope finished the back part of her house.  The front part of her house has yet to be completed.  Without this part of her house finished her children and grandchildren cannot return to New Orleans because their home is not ready for them.  Rebecca told us that she has only seen her grandchildren twice in the past five years and she believes that one of them doesn’t even know who she is because she is so young and hasn’t spent enough time with her grangran, as Rebecca said.  While Rebecca said that her eyes began to water.  I could tell how heart broken she was that she was away from her children and is currently missing her grandchildren growing up.  She showed us her photo albums of her children, grandchildren, and her house before Katrina.  Having her there to talk to us and show us her life before Katrina, and us seeing it now made things so much more realistic to me on just how the Hurricane affected different peoples lives.  Although Rebecca has been through so much seeing her so grateful for our help, making us some traditional New Orleans pies, and sharing her story with us and remaining to have such a positive attitude showed me the strength that people remain to have even after put through such negative experiences.

Today I worked with the food co-op.  I passed flyers around the neighbourhood.  I really enjoyed this task because it gave me time alone to walk through and wondering the area, meet some residents and time to process my own thoughts.  While walking through the neighbourhood I had the biggest challenge on whether I should leave flyers at certain houses.  This was a challenge for me because it was difficult to tell who was living in houses and which ones were empty.  Some houses looked beautiful on the outside but by the time I walked to the door and peaked through the window  (if they had) I could see that they were abandoned.  Some houses had windows or even doors that were boarded up with wood and newspaper.  One house in particular I was standing in front of that looked pretty destroyed.  I put a flyer in the door but wondered if I should take it out because I thought it was abandoned.  While I was pondering what I should do, the house owner walked up behind me and went into her house.  That made me think about two things.  The first thing I thought about was how many people are still living in houses that were not completely renovated or even dangerous to live in, but live there because that is their last resort.  The second thing I thought about was about the houses that were abandoned. They look so pretty on the outside but where are the homeowners.  This flooded so many more questions I had such as, why haven’t their houses been fixed yet? Where are they now? How much longer will they be gone for? When will their houses be fixed and by who?  I also thought it was kind of an illusion because Tanya took us on a tour as soon as we arrived in New Orleans.  She showed us all these empty lots and told us that the ones that had a base were owned by the homeowners, even though no one was living there, and the lots that were completely empty were owned by the government.  We saw, and continue to see all these empty lots, or lots with bases, but I never really thought about the houses that remained in the neighbourhood but with no one in them.  This also put things in perspective for me and made me really sad.  I feel so comfortable in my home and am so use to just coming home everyday, I could never imagine how all these residents ( or use to be residents) feel.  Although I have only worked for two days the two days impacted me both differently and enormously.

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