Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thoughts from today

I wish there were more hours in the day. Every day is full of so many stories that I can not do them justice, but want to at least point out a few of the high points from today.

* Big Picture stuff: One more home gutted. One partial house gutted. No injuries. The homeowners so affected by the storm are just a bit, a tiny bit, but still a bit, better than they were 24 hours ago. So the day was a success.

* Possibly my favorite part of a very good day was talking with the the homeowner at our first house (which we did finish). It will be a long road back, but at least their home is gutted.

* One of the interesting things the homeowner mentioned was the enormity of this. Try to imagine working alone and essentially tearing your own home apart. (I have a hard enough time finding time to paint a single room. Now try throwing out all of your possessions, taking down all the walls, taking up the carpets and floors, and ALMOST rebuilding your entire house. While working. While raising a family. Seriously, take a few seconds and try to imagine it. Wouldn't you want any help you could get? I know I would.

* After lunch we returned to the site we had been working on and we saw an elderly woman struggling to move a pallet in her yard. So Carrie and another volunteer went and helped her to move it into position to help construct a walk way through her swampy front yard.

After the pallet was moved, I got to speak with her. She spoke of the difficulties facing the residents: too little money, too much work to do to recover, and a great deal of uncertainty as to whom will be allowed to rebuild and what houses will need to be raised.

She also talked about how she had lived in the back of an 18 wheel truck body for weeks after the storm and how while thankful for FEMA (she now calls Bridge City FEMA town since so many live in FEMA provided housing), she fears most won't be ready when the government wants their homes back. She is also afraid of another hurricane, but not sure what else she can do.

* As a grocer whose family did have a store flooded (Portville) in the flood of 1972 in the Olean area caused by Hurricane Agnes, it was with special interest that I went to the temporary Market Basket store located in front of where the original store was 4 months ago. Not sure how much it cost to set up, but the store was both very small and quite busy when I was there.

* I really like the set up the Church of Christ Disaster Response has at the comunity center. Much food and good supplies. They are at once organized and flexible. Good job Mark, Shirley, and the rest of the volunteers!

* Talked to Michelle today. We will be getting shirts before we leave! Very exciting. The shirts were donated but as I am not sure if she wants us to share that, I will leave her last name out of it until we have permission to use it.

* Also talked with Bill Driscoll and Donna. The work contined to go well. I am not sure if or when it will run, but the Wellsville newspaper is interested in doing a story on the work that is on going there.

* uploaded more pictures and videos to flickr.

* I have been asked what this trip is like. All trips are unique and it is way to early to say, but things are going very well. And I know I should not try to classify anything this soon, but I will attempt to:
  1. Work seems most like Iowa so far. Gutting and more gutting but at a pace slightly less frantic than the first Biloxi trip. (Maybe more like Biloxi January 2006)
  2. Base Camp sort of has the feel of first trip to Biloxi in Oct 2005. Why? maybe because of all the supplies, maybe because there is not an awful lot more to do besides work.
  3. Residential area where we have been working reminds me of a larger, richer, Pearlington.
* a reminder that you can follow what is going on with BonaResponds at our twitter account as well.

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