Today, as we first gathered together on the bus, we were once again intrigued by Alvin’s words of experience and knowledge of the cy of New Orleans. It was mind-boggling to hear how there were only a few hospitals in the city and how in some neighborhoods, the nearest hospital was twenty minutes away. When we arrived at the home, we were to work on, we were indubitably taken aback by its poor condition. I initially thought it would take more than a week to make even the smallest difference on the house, but by the end of the day I was pleasantly surprised by how far away from the truth I was. I took pride in our amount of teamwork and in how diligently we worked. We had performed all types of manual labor from scraping off cracked paint and to painting over new surfaces.
Many of us had the pleasure of meeting the homeowner, Warren, and hearing his inspiring stories about his daughter who rescued Katrina victims. One moment that stands out to us clearly was on our way back from the worksite. On the returning bus ride, Al pointed out lines on a supermarket that depicted how high the flooding of the hurricane had reached. While we all had some understanding of how severe the hurricane was, witnessing this exact mark in person gave us even more of an incentive to keep working hard to pick up some of the pieces left behind by this horrible tragedy.
Amanda and Jon (UCLA Hillel)