Its been one week since we all arrived here in New Orleans and the time is flying by far too quickly. I have far too much to say in this blog, but I think I can stick to the highlights. I worked the first week with the St. Bernard Project working on a house with about 10 others. I certainly don’t consider myself a handyperson by any means so this was a solid learning experience. I am no longer afraid of severing off my digits when operating power tools. The house is really coming together and should be finished in another few weeks. Unfortunately I wont be around to see the finished product, or the family that moves in. On the bright side however, I will always be a part of that house just like everyone else who worked hard on it. Even if the work itself seems minor, like putting up a door or laying floorboards, it is all necessary to give a family a place to call home.

On that same note its very clear that these kind of projects take a lot of time and work, but I cannot stress enough that every little bit helps.

On Wednesday we all trekked to Stephensville to fill sandbags and deliver them to home owners as they prepare for flooding. It was an incredible day, good people working hard to help good people.  Myself along with a few others set up a sandbag wall at the home of Miss June. She lives in an old log house out in the bayou. Complete solitude. The property was incredible and she insisted on taking us on a tour and telling us her story.

Friday we toured the swamps which was absolutely unreal. I’m finding it difficult to describe the beauty of this place. It really is like something out of a dream. But then I have that piercing thought in the back of my mind that haunts me. Imagine this completely underwater. and this. and that. and that. and this. everything. At first it really brought me down, but now I’m starting instead to see progress. A community coming back. Piece by piece, house by house, family by family.

So all in all this experience thus far has been life changing. This week to come I’m sure will bring more new experiences stories and friends and I’m really looking forward to it. I never want this to end.

-Jordan Ruediger