Sorry it took so long to write agian, but things have been a bit hectic (what a suprise).
So, Americorps decided that the need for help was much greater in Biloxi, Mississippi than Fort Myers, so they shipped from FL to Miss. Before I get into Mississippi, let me first tell you about how incredible Fort Myers was.
For starters, we were working with another team, Silver 3. They are some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. They made the work day tons of fun. While in Fort Myers, we repaired houses that were damaged by Hurricane Wilma then worked on some homes being built. My friend Alex (Sliver 3), and I got chosen to work with the plumber named DUCK. Duck is a very interesting charcter. He is the youngest of 13, and likes to talk…A LOT. He has 2 tatoos, one of Donald Duck reading “the duck man” and another above his rear reading “plumbers crack.” The more comfortable he got with us, the more racist and inappropriate his comments and stories would get.
We decided to stop working with him after 3 days and went with the rest of our teams to help gut out and repair a house that was owned by a lonely man, who is now in prison somewhere (the house had been abandonded). We found all sorts of intersesting treasures. For example, his correspondence with his mail order bride he was receiving, along with the mail order bride catalog where he had circled and written comments near a few. We found a novel he had wrote, children’s books, an oversized valentine, and body bags… On the weekend we went to the Everglades and went on a fan boat ride…soo much fun!
We found out last Wednesday that we would be leaving Silver 3 and Fort Myers to go to Mississippi where the eye of Hurricane Katrina hit to do disaster relief. We said our tearful goodbyes and left Friday morning, drove 13 hours, and arrived at our camp. It was incredible to see the devastation progress as we came closer to Biloxi.
We are staying in circus tents with about 70 other volunteers per tent. There are 3 tents, and for all of us, there are 10 Porta-Potties and 10 portable showers. The devastation here is unimaginable. It has been 5 months since Katrina hit, and along the gulf, it still looks as though an atom bomb has hit. People are still living out of their cars, and people are still without proper food. Huge buildings are nothing but rubble, and where houses stood, there is nothing except piles of garbage. The worst part is, the Red Cross pulled out 2 months ago, so it is up to smaller organizations to keep rebuilding.
We are working with a Lutheran organiztion, and the circus tents are somewhat like a little commune (people are soooo friendly and supportive). We (Americorps) bring the average age way down (most of the volunteers are at least 55). We work from 6 in the morning until 5:30/6:00 then eat dinner comunally…followed by optional devotionals and prayer.
During the day, my team has been working on this one house putting up drywall, painting, trim, cieling…pretty much all of the interior work. It looks as though we will finish this house in a week or 2. We had the pleasure of meeting the family whose house it is. It is owned by a single mother with 2 kids who has had to cram into her parents’ house for the past 5 months. It is amazing to help her get her house back. Our work changes depending on where they need us. It is just hard because there is so much that needs to be done, and it’s hard to feel like you have even made a dent.
I miss you all, and hope you are all happy and healthy! Keep writing, I need the support!
P.S. No, I didn't get to meet David Ortiz, but Silver 3 promised me his autograph…