Please Note: In essence of the NOLA Saints and this proud city,my blog (as well as my future blogs) will be completed using parts of the team’s favourite chant to help describe some of the moments, people and/or learning experiences that I’ve had on the trip.
We Dat! Yup, the CINT 912 students have definitely made their presence known in the “dirty south”. One by one, each of us arrived and immediately jumped into the action. First stop, IHOP for brunch, where we were graciously welcomed by our lovely server Rebecca. It was at that moment where I received confirmation that the next 14 days were going to be life-changing… and YUP, it sure has been thus far. Although the trip has just begun, I’ve already laughed like I’ve never laughed, cried like I’ve never cried, and learned like I’ve never learned. We can’t forget that I also haven’t eaten this way before either! Mmm… the “Muffaletta’s”, “Beignets”, and “Po Boys” are all having fun in my stomach now.
Dat be Pastor Randy Millet, who is the head of the Adullam Christian Fellowship Center at which we are staying. I had the pleasure of meeting this inspirational man during dinner time on the fourth day of our stay. He came with a great, sunny Southern attitude, many touching stories, from his congregations, a VERY powerful message, and some yummy Eclairs (which I tried for the first time that night). Many of experiences shared were related to heart breaking moments that were caused by Hurricane Katrina. As he spoke and his eyes filled with water, I could feel my heart bleed in sympathy. Mainly because despite all of the beautiful aspects of New Orleans and associated parishes, extreme devastation still exists. I’ve witnessed countless homes still in shambles and therefore have not been touched since the storm for whatever reason (I.e. Home owner abandoned it or couldn’t afford to maintain it). In many areas sit empty green lawns lying in between neighbouring houses; Not because NOLA is big on greenery, BUT because in that spot once sat a home, or 5 homes, or 20+ homes. These are just home related issues let us not forget political problems, unemployment, and negative psychosocial affects.Nonetheless, through all of the adversity that have been experienced by the residents, they are still smiling and still being resilient. During Pastor Randy’s message, he said something that will forever stick in my brain, and that was, “When you go home and turn on your bed room light – be thankful, and when you begin to lie on your bed – be thankful because at any moment, just like a blink of an eye, it could happen to you. Perseverance is often linked to support systems that one has during a hard time. The people that we’ve been able to support have shown nothing but gratitude, and I’m thankful that my classmates and have contributed to their overall betterment.
Dance and Dingolay (aka Shakera)
PS: This is I – chain sawing plywood!!