Spring Break is over. The BonaResponds' Spring break trip is completed. All day I have been answering the question "how did it go?". Here are some of my thoughts.
The trip was good. It was not perfect but it was very good. The lack of tools and organization at many sites was annoying and cut into the the amount of work that the volunteers could get done. But as annoying as waiting for supplies was to us, it is just a small small reminder of how annoying waiting two and a half years to move back into your home is.
Most everyone worked hard. Of course there were exceptions, but they were just that, exceptions. To dwell on them misses the bigger picture. Volunteers paid over $200 each to go and drywall, paint, or haul trees to help people they did not know, and in most cases will never see again. The next time you hear that people no longer care, remember these volunteers. They do more than care, they do something positive to help those in need.
In the Gulf, many local residents and long term volunteers just are burned out. This shows up in the extreme cases as suicides, but in every day dealings this burn out shows up in lack of energy, depression, and just a mood of sadness.
Physically things are looking better. Many homes will never be rebuilt and for miles in New Orleans it still is awful, but progress is being made in most places. Biloxi continues to lead the way, but everywhere things are getting better, just at a rate that is much too slow.
Did we help things along? Definitely. From the physical labor to the "just being here" the volunteers should all be proud of how they spent their spring break! In fact, I can't imagine a better way to spend a break.