Today I woke up with a calmed excitement. I am so excited about this trip – I feel that goes without saying! I am in the middle of packing – which is stressing me out because I work tonight and I am one of those people who will pack and unpack and pack and unpack etc. However, it will all be worth it when my mom knocks on my door tomorrow morning at 10am to begin our adventure to Buffalo (that’s where we fly out of)! It has been a few years since I’ve been on a plane so I’m actually looking forward to flying again – the feeling of flying always surprises me! If anyone has seen the comedian, Louis CK – he describes that everyone should be amazed at flying ’cause c’mon, you’re sitting in a chair… in the sky!!!!

The calmness of my excitement comes from the perspective that I am so privileged and honoured to be a part of this group and this opportunity – However, I wish I could say I was going to New Orleans to party with some locals to celebrate the swift, effective, and respectable rebuilding process offered by the American government to the vast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, we find ourselves, 6 years later, taking these voluntary trips to do what little we can in picking up the pieces the Bush Administration left scattered in NOLA. With that said, in all my excitement, I am remembering to remain humble. For in the end, if Katrina never happened, if people hadn’t suffered and lost lives and loved ones and homes, there would be no trip to go on. Corporations and private contractors have made Far too much money on the backs of the victims of Katrina. It is not fair to take more from them. So in this trip, I offer my humble hands in doing what they (the survivors) need and want me to do.

I am so thankful for this opportunity and for NOLA citizens in welcoming us to their home. I look forward to hearing their stories of struggle and triumph; to laughing; to witnessing overwhelming injustice and inspiring resiliency; and to leaving a part of me with New Orleans in solidarity for those whom have struggled and overcame. I intend to help however I can to continue to build community and positivity in a place where governments turned their back, where media was bought and served lacking honesty and integrity in the recipe, where corporations profited off of human loss and devastation, and where the people, united, can take back their places, wear smiles on their faces, and bask in the glory of community and resiliency. YOU are an inspiration – and on this trip, I intend to learn from you.

Ok, must go finish packing!! Bring on the sunshine, bring on the heat, bring on the building and stories and new people with new adventures!! By the way, for those of you who have already heard me mention my panic about getting sunburnt, you will be happy to know I found a nice coppertone sport sunblock with a 50SPF!! I almost got a family size but my bag is quite heavy as it is so I opted for a smaller bottle. However, I will be protecting my skin and I hope everyone else is doing the same – on that note, please don’t let me fall asleep outside!

See you all tomorrow!!!!!

Caitlin V.