Listening to: Equilibrium
Reading: The Lady of Avalon
Just got home today from three weeks away from Seattle/Renton. It's fucking 68 degrees here and it's seriously the temperature of our air conditioning in New Orleans. It's cold. What the fucking hell can I say? I'm home for a few hours and already I want to go back to that magical, shattered, and hopeful city that seems like a home for my soul. No, not seems. IS. What the hell am I doing here? Sitting on my ass, doing computer stuff that I don't need to do, worrying about school, money, time, time, time. Those people have more worries than I do, and what do they do? They thank some higher power everyday that they're simply here on this earth. How incredible is that? If a ninety year old woman living in a historical house that's falling apart, is covered in mold, and smells like garbage, can thank her God that she's alive and well and I can't? A ninety year old woman who has lost a daughter, survived a heart attack, and lives with a son that doesn't do shit to take care of her can thank God for another day in this reality, and I can't? I can't and I have a thousand times more than she does? What does that say? What am I doing?
New Orleans, take me home! Miss Doris take me home. Veronique take me home. Miss Louise, Miss Rebecca, Miss Dot...take me the fuck home.
I'm disappointed that we didn't do as much construction work this year. I can't tell you how prepared I was to drywall, mud, drill, hammer...anything. Anything to get another house up so that one, two more people could move back to their home. Unfortunately, our group of forty plus kids did a ton of little jobs. Garden work, painting fences, building decks, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...
I know I still did a lot. I know we finished a lot. We put smiles on those women's faces. We heard their story, we thanked them, they thanked us, we thanked them again. I just wish I could do so much more, because I know I CAN do so much more. There's so much more to be done...always. I weeded for days at Miss Ora's, taming the jungle that had become her yard. I cleaned awnings and gutters for Miss Harris, I fixed termite damage and helped install a shower wall for Miss Camille (which, by the way, was an absolute NIGHTMARE due to the absence of ANY right angles), and was angry at myself for not returning to the dorms at the end of the day sore and starving.
There's too much to say, far too much, so I'll keep it short. Let me skip to the GOOD news. We toured the 9th ward again. Still desolate, still sad, still barren. But you know what? There's progress. Fucking progress after five years. We saw so many new houses up. Colorful, ecological, "green", and stilted, storm-proof houses. They weren't there last year. So although the rebuilding process is too slow than this country and its people should be able to simply stand by and watch, at least it's happening. Something is happening.
This was the last year that our group did this mission trip through the church. Our youth leader, Michael, and dear father to two of my best friends, resigned from his position. But we don't just stop going. We WILL rebuild New Orleans, even if it takes us another twenty years to see it done.
So, my and their story has been partially told. There's more to tell. But YOU must tell it too. It's the only way this charming city will return to full bloom. I can honestly say less than 2% has been rebuilt. People forget. People don't care. It's your city too. Your brothers and sisters, your country... your piece of the world, if anything. Don't forget New Orleans, and don't forget Haiti. I know you just want to return to your life where you're fed and you're comfortable and you have worries that you worry about and don't even need to because your life is secure enough. If you can't help, the next person can. Let them know what needs to be done.
New Orleans, I love you.
I will be back.