Everybody has heard of the disaster that Hurricane Katrina caused when she hit the southern and eastern coasts of the United States, but did they see the aftermath? There are many organizations and individual groups that went to the states that were hit to aid in repairing the victim’s lives. However, it seems that majority of our Nation had not seen the aftermath with their own two eyes. I did.
In January of 2006 my school created a Winterim class in which a group of students would spend a couple of weeks learning about all of the facts of Hurricane Katrina and then actually head down to Pearlington, Mississippi. We stayed at a camp with an organization known as the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
Our homes for about a week were little ‘houses’ known as pods. They were about the size of tents and could fit up to three people. We had about six showers for a total of twenty-two people. There was some hot water but it didn’t last long.
It also didn’t help that the first night the boys took up all of the shower time, who would have thought? I would have thought the girls would! Everybody soon got used to the arrangements however. We also had a big pod used for eating and fun-time. All of us had a lot of fun while we were there; the only thing really to do was to play cards.
We would get in huge groups and play Egyptian Rat screw. It’s funny how much I miss a place that didn’t have hot water, a nice mattress to sleep on, and all of the other amenities so many people are accustomed to.
We started to help the day that we arrived. Some of us stayed back and helped with further set-up of the camp, others went to a house to help strip the house so they could treat it for mold, we also went to a distribution center to help sort the last day. I only stayed back one day. Every other day I was at the house helping to tear down ceiling and wood paneling, clean up in general, and remove the tile from the floor…man, that was hard! We were finished with the house a few days later.
There were some interesting yet devastating stories told from the owner and her daughter during our work. Sadly, they had lost their son/brother to the storm and could hear the daughter/sister-in law screaming for her husband. It really took the breath out of you as you usually only hear about theses stories on the news or just from word of mouth, not from somebody who lived it. At the end, the wonderful lady who owned the house made us our own southern made meal! She amazed me; she made shrimp, crab, corn on the cob, and fried chicken, all from her FEMA trailer for twenty-two people.
I have so say that was the greatest meal I’ve ever had! There is so much more to tell just not enough time. I learned and experienced so much from that trip that I could have never had anywhere else. The people were amazing they were so grateful for our help. I’m just grateful I could help one woman’s life become better.
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