Hi guys! Ahmmmm Bay-ack (as they say down south) from doing a tiny smidgen towards Katrina relief work. Craig and I spent a night in New Orleans first with friends who lost their job due to Katrina and will soon move to TX for new work.
Then we drove on to Gulfport MS, looking at the devastation all the way, homes demolished or washed out with gaping doors and windows. Each home had spraypainted writing on the outside telling if it had been checked for bodies, needed to be demolished etc. Many streets were just plain empty, smashed cars lying around, no people. Gulfport was the same, the first three blocks along the beach were washed clean of homes
and businesses, though most of the many live oak trees were for some reason still standing along with the concrete pads and driveways which looked unreal and eerie.
We stayed at a campsite called Camp Hope established by the First Presbyterian Church of Gulfport which invited other Presbyterian churches across the country to send volunteers. Craig stayed in tents provided by Rotary and I stayed with three other women in a trailer which was kind of fun. It wasn't situated well so when one woman rolled over in bed at one end of the trailer my end of the trailer fishtailed. So I didn't get much sleep all week to speak of except Thurs. night there was a tornado warning so many of us were taken into real homes by church members. We hadn't planned on getting evacuated ourselves!
raig and I got to sleep that night in a real bed which was heaven!
We ate in a big tent like a MASH tent and we all helped cook some of the meals for the 80 some volunteers. I mainly worked on the house of a man who'd had three heart attacks. He tried to work along side of us but probably should not have. His house had 3-4 feet of water in it so we removed all the drywall and our team of 13 insulated and re-drywalled it besides replacing some of the ceilings. Most days I did demolition or spackled and was pleased that my new shoulder held up pretty well.
Craig and another man from our church (who went back to Gulfport for a second time) did electrical work and taught some young men how to do it. They are so desparate for that sort of thing that it didn't matter that he is not a licenced electrician. They completely rewired one house, the home of a 95 yr old woman and also worked on other homes with electrical problems.
I was impressed that all the homes worked on were owned by very needy people: one was a policeman severely back injured in the line of duty with 3 children; another a Salvation Army worker who has been doing so much Katrina relief work for others that he didn't have time to fix up his own home.
We worked with folks from California, MN, FL Michigan and PA, quite a delightful group. We had two very funny guys in our workgroup who kept us in laughter with their crazy singing of corrupted songs from the 50s made applicable to demolition work.
Everyone pitched in and either found a job that needed doing or learned how to do something new. Whenever possible we just listened to folks tell their experiences pre- and post- Katrina. There were cases of fraud where homeowners gave the FEMA money to contractors for building supplies and they never returned to do the work.
I did some video segments interviewing home owners and volunteers (all of whom said they'd return "in a heartbeat" to Gulfport) so now I'm editing it making a CD suitable for the missions committee to spread around to churches.
I've missed being on Ranchersnet and am waaaayyy behind on all your news.
HEAVENS TO BETSY!!! :shock: :shock: So much for my idea that you were on some luxurious vacation somewhere and failed to invite the rest of us :lol: :lol: Lord have mercy but you have been busy, girl!!!! We are all waiting for pictures, of course! :wink:
By the way....WAY TO GO!!! Proud of ya!!