Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The unfortunate floods of Louisiana and the youthful future of New Orleans.

After hearing about the floods that struck major areas throughout Louisiana, I immediately looked for an opportunity to become apart of a relief effort. I really wanted to do something hands-on. A classmate told me about an opportunity in Lafayette, which was exactly what I was looking for, demolition assistance. We drove to the neighborhood our group leader directed us to and met the owner of the house we were instructed to work on. She explained how fast the water swept through the neighborhood. I am about 6'3 and the water was up to my chest based off of her description. When I walked into the house I saw how high the water was because the walls were gutted up to that height. I started moving big pieces of furniture outside with the help of other team members. I moved a cabinet, bedroom dresser, patio chairs, patio table, and a patio futon into the growing pile of damaged items that once held memories of their household. Once I was done moving the big furniture out, I began assisting with nail removal from the wooden beams that were exposed. After I had cleared all of the nails, I began removing small wooden planks that were nailed to the floor. After about four hours of demolition work, my classmate and I were exhausted so we called it. All of my clothes were soaked in sweat and as we walked back to our car we just saw these gigantic piles of furniture, trash, other household items that were stacked so high you could only see the roof of the house behind it. This specific neighborhood wasn't in a flood zone so none of the owners had any flood insurance. It was very disheartening to hear about the floods but it was extremely humbling to see the devastating aftermath in person. All in all, I was grateful to be able to lend a hand to this family and to have hopefully made their rebuilding process become a little smoother. Here is a picture of my classmate and I after we had finished with our demolition service.

In addition to demolition service I continued working at KIPP. I spent approximately two hours helping the middle school office organize their t-shirts as instructed by one of the faculty members. We split up the responsibilities by assigning a specific color to each volunteer. I was in charge of the red t-shirts and began organizing my the shirts according to size and folding all of the shirts in a spatially efficient manner to minimize the storage space we used. We received an unexpected surprise when some of the faculty gave us popsicles. I was able to snag my favorite flavor, grape. Volunteering these past couple of months have made me feel a stronger connection to the city of New Orleans. It has made the overall transition from California a lot easier.

Volunteer hours total: 6 hours