Although it has only been 3 full days here in New Orleans, it feels as if I’ve been here for a lifetime.  It was a rocky start to the week due to airport technical difficulties, but once we arrived to what is now home, it has been nothing short of awesome!   To be completely honest, I had pre-conceived notions about Americans, but all that melted away when I met people who live and work here.  Everyone I have encountered thus far has been beyond friendly, people here actually stop to say hi rather than avoiding eye contact and steering away in the opposite direction.  For the last two days I have been working at the St. Bernard’s Animal Shelter in Violet cleaning the kennels, assisting the vet and playing with the dogs for exercise.  The best part of being at the animal shelter was interacting with the people who work there who are so passionate about what they do and the personal accounts of Katrina they were kind enough to share.  If I were to choose what the best part of the trip has been so far I would say the city tour and listening to Pastor Randy speak.  It is amazing to see that even after such a disaster, residents are resilient and are returning, and will continue to return so long as there is a place to call home.

We have done so much in so little time, that it is difficult to gather my thoughts and feelings.  Since arriving, I have experienced pretty much every emotion – from frustration, to excitement, sadness, hope, guilt, happiness and basically everything in between.  Never in a million years did I expect to feel so connected and comfortable with the group I barely even know.  In such a short period of time we have come together and have created experiences I don’t think any one of us will ever forget.  I feel as though the people of New Orleans have given us more than we have given them – hope and a sense of community.

– R-zoo