I am here, and never have I ever felt this way before. I cannot describe how I am feeling right now, and what is going through this head of mine.. But I’ll tell you what has been going on that is causing this congestion. On April 30 we arrived in New Orleans and we immediately had a tour by Tanya (thank you Tanya :). The tour felt sort of surreal, all that we had seen in the documentaries were presented to us.. I did not know how to take it in, what I was seeing that is..

There are empty houses amongst homes.. or unoccupied homes that were left behind in the rebuilding after Katrina. Why? I think we are all having trouble wrapping our heads around this- congestion I tell you. There are marks on some of the houses from rescue teams. I wish I could draw it for you, but I’ll have to do my best to describe it, there is an x and in the very bottom will be a number which represents the number of dead bodies that were found in that building. There is a particular house on Tanya’s street with the number 8 between the x, 8 dead bodies had been found and apparently mostly children. Each time I saw this sign I could not help myself but to say “Oh My God”.

Something that has stood out to me since I arrived is the theme of unity. Residents are so dedicated to New Orleans, and are incredibly grateful for our volunteering. Everywhere I go I find myself being waved back to.. I don’t remember this happening anywhere else. I am envious of this welcoming environment and the coming together of people. The community here is so unified and committed to being here, it is very admirable. I wish a picture could capture what I am trying to describe, but this is worth more than a thousand words..

I am struggling to understand the circumstances surrounding Katrina. What I am seeking is an answer to “Why?” I want to know why people haven’t returned, why haven’t their homes been rebuilt, and why haven’t schools been rebuilt? Especially after 6 years. A country with so much money cannot aid their own community, it makes you wonder..

I guess what I am sampling here is what residents experience all the time. While I absolutely love it here, I also hate it, I’ve never had so much congestion in my head.

I am going to leave it here for now, I will write soon though.

Sarah Clarke