New Orleans, oh New Orleans…

As the dorm is filled with excitement and all of the girls rushing around getting everything cleaned and ready for the next group and of course getting ready to enjoy our last night in da parish! I have a sense of sadness because I feel like I have so much more left to do here.

Today we had the honor of being a part of about 50 volunteers who welcomed home a family into their rebuilt home by The St. Bernard Project. When we were listening to the home owner Mike start saying his thank you to all the volunteers that were there to welcome him home, I happened to look over to the house and see that attached to his new home is the FEMA trailer that his family had been living in the whole time his house was being rebuilt which was about 2 years from today and then realize that him and his family had been living in that trailer for 6 years. It was just insane to think that his family of four had been living in this little trailer was just crazy. After seeing the trailer sitting there literally attached to his home and listening to his thank you’s to the volunteers it brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely amazing to hear the strength and gratitude that Mike expressed even after having to deal with the struggle and hardships to rebuild to stand there and be so humble was amazing.

This is the exact reason that I must come back to New Orleans because there is so much more to rebuild, I want to be apart of many Welcome Home’s I want to see many families return to the neighborhoods that they have grown up with and lived in all their lives, the places they wanted to see their kids grow up in those places NEED to be rebuilt. And I want to be apart of it.

New Orleans has been an amazing experience for me, these 20 other people that I have been here with for two weeks I really consider my friends and above that my family, we have shared, reflected and really grown together and I am so happy I was able to be apart of that because I couldn’t think of a better group of people to have done that with. I truly have learned so much from these amazing 20 people and of course the amazing people who teach this course, Tanya and Pascal. You both have really opened my eyes and mind to many injustices, ideas and language that i need to change. And I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have left here with a better understanding of the injustices that exist and that are not only in New Orleans but that have become apparent to me even in Toronto and I feel confident knowing that I will go home and share my stories with my friends, family, co- workers, fellow students basically anyone that will listen because this city should be somewhere we all come to give back.

I will be back, so see you soon New Orleans.. You will be missed.

♥ Judy Sebastian