(Multiple participants from the University of Washington Hillel group contributed to this post)
Lauren always starts our team meetings with a 3 word check in, so here are a few of ours at the end of our first day: exhausted, smelly, inspired.
Diriving today through St. Bernard Parish, we saw traces of innumerable stories left untold. Appearances were initially deceiving. Blighted homes encroached upon by invasive weeds could be confused for roof gardens. Holes in the roofs turned out not to be from Katrina damage but rather from escape attempts of house residents. Vast, empty green lots, bursting with colorful, sprawling plants lay bare the landscape that once held together communities.
It’s been eye opening to see the drastic differences between the houses in the neighborhood – but mostly between the neighborhoods. It’s raised questions around privilege, poverty, politics of location, and made me question where I fit in. Above all, I really appreciated hearing from our speaker tonight! Loved bonding with this fabulous ASB group…(Awesome Since Birth).
After one day I can see how important the work we are doing really is to this city. Something as simple as painting a house can bring color to an individual family and community. I am proud to be able to do this work and am looking forward to the rest of my time here!
I have been noticing many things such as the watermarks and the “X”s on all of the houses. The experiences I have had since I have been here for 2 days is phenomenal. I am really looking forward to exploring the lower ninth ward tomorrow and doing some fabulous painting.