We are back from a week of volunteering in and around Galveston Texas with BonaResponds. It was a good trip. While the trip was far from perfect, much work got done and most of the 44 volunteers both helped the victims and grew from the experience.
The work was spotty (especially later in the week) but in parts very good. A partial list (mainly from memory) was that we cleaned over 2 miles of road, gutted about 6 homes, helped drywall a home, helped roof and put up interior walls and ceilings at one home, helped put up siding on one house, helped rough wire a house, wrapped the exterior of one house, installed electric for RV parking, moved a family, painted several interiors, and sandblasted and painted 17 bunk beds.
All in all a productive week.
Galveston was different from most places we have been. Parts of the city looked normal while others looked horrible. Moreover, it was seemingly a ghost town once you got off the main streets. I am not sure what part of this is because it was a vacation area for many, and what portion of it is that people have just given up and moved on.
Galveston was also home to some of the worst housing conditions I have seen rivaling even the poor parts of New Orleans or East Biloxi. Many of the homes were horrible before the storm and are now simply dangerous (indeed gutting was halted in one house as the ceilings and exterior walls seemed to be giving way with every hammer blow).
Did we solve the problems of the residents? No, but for many, we did make things better and that is all we can really hope to do.
I also would be remiss if I did not point out the superb leadership of Steve and Rob. Simply a great job guys. Thanks!