Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back From NOLA

The days since we got back from our trip to New Orleans have been super busy so I haven't had a chance to do a post about the trip. I finally have some free time so here's a little bit about our trip.

We left at an ungodly time of 4:50 am on Saturday to get to the airport by 5:45 where we sat and waited for our flight to board. When we got to N.O. we hit the ground running. We dropped our bags off at the hotel then got some fast food then went on to the church we would be working at all week. We did some decorating and setting up for the week of summer day camp that we would be teaching. Then back to the hotel.
Then next five days were basically all the same. Basically. Get to the church, prepare for the day, meet the kids and go go go. The children were on a rotation that consisted of recreation (games and activities), crafts, Bible study (they were taught different stories from the Bible) and Lagniappe (which I think means "a little something different", in our case it was music), lunch then pretty much the same four with different activities, crafts, etc. If there were outside projects that needed to be done we would send off four or five of our team members to do them. Those projects were yard work two days some promotional stuff for the upcoming arena football league championship and some swag bag stuffing for a PGA tourney. Those last couple things are a long story on how we got involved with them so I won't bore you with it. Then Friday night we got to go out and eat and go down to the French Quarter and do a little bit of touristy stuff.

It was a great trip overall. But heartbreaking. It rained 3 or 4 days in the middle of the week and everytime it would start a lot of the older kids would hide under a table or desk because they still so traumatized over Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that happened. We heard so many stories about being rescued from roofs and that kind of thing. It just broke my heart. We also drove around some of the hardest hit areas of the city and there are still only about 40 - 50% of the houses that have been reinhabited, if that. Most of them are still standing there abandoned and gutted. The occupants who knows where. We came across quite a few people that are now homeless who weren't before the storm. Here a couple pictures of some of the homes we saw.

If you can see the paint on the front of the house, there's some on most of the houses we saw. The only ones that didn't have it were the ones that people had moved back in and repainted. The TFW stands for Toxic Flood Water so basically all the houses near any source of water (basically 80% of the city) had this painted on them. They also spray painted whether they found any dead inside whether it be human or canine. We saw a few of those and it really did break my heart. I had a hard time keeping the tears at bay, which basically means I didn't keep them at bay. The help this city still needs is overwhelming, not to mention it makes me incredibly angry at the lack of progress.

I could go on for days about this but I won't. I'll leave it at that. Here are some happier pics of some of the kids that we worked with so that I don't leave this post on a sour note.


BigCat said...

Thanks for posting about that. It is really confronting to think that so many years on the city is still not restored and so many people are still displaced and traumatised.

I'm not sure what it is like in the USA but in Australia we hardly here anything about it anymore. It's lost its dramatic appeal for the media so the story just goes away.

It's good to have people letting us know that it's still an ongoing issue and likely to be for a long time to come.

muralimanohar said...

One thing I will always regret is that I never made it to NO before Katrina. :(

And yeah, here in Australia, the only thing I ever hear about it, is reading US news sites and blogs and forums. It's long past for the rest of the world. :(