Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More and More...

More and more…

…People are down this week to help clear houses. This week we have groups from Livonia, MI, Wake Forest, NC, Cincinnati, OH, Chatin, SC, Penn Laird, VA and Carmel, CA.

…People are coming. A group of high school students are heading in on Thursday to help out – 27 students and 6 adults. A group from Virginia Beach, VA will join us on Saturday. There should be over 90 folks in camp for the remainder of my stay here in MS.

…Mold is growing. I went into a house yesterday that had been closed up since the Hurricane hit, almost 2 months ago. It was disgusting. The first thing I noticed was the patterned/colored ceiling tiles. It reminded me of really bad 70s décor. Then I realized that it was mold which had taken over. There are still refrigerators filled to the brim with rotten food. Couches are still overturned and in need of an axe in order to break it all down and move it to the curb for pick up. And the smell…oh the smell…

…Houses being cleared. Yesterday we had folks working on “full guts” in 5 different houses. To get the scope on this, it’s taking teams of 7-14 people 2 full days on each house. On Friday I hope to send 11 teams out to different houses. Is it making a difference? Slowly but surely, it’s starting to.

…Locals are coming back. When the high school students from CPC were here a month ago it seemed that the only folks back were the ones who never left. Now people are starting to stream in who were staying all across the country, seeing their community flattened. I hope these people will bring an infusion of positive energy and love to the streets.

…Signs of stress are cropping up. The folks at a job site yesterday told me that they had seen a woman get food from the Red Cross mobile unit and then disappear into the house again. The house was off it’s foundation with debris from another house in blocking the way to the front door. I went over to check on her and see if there was anything we could do to help. When she opened the door, I met Dianna, a very skinny (think African famine) woman, probably in her late 20s with bare feet in a house covered in mud and mold. Her furniture was still upside down on the floor and the smell was noxious. She had evacuated, came back last week and didn’t want to leave the house. She was looking for something. I continued to ask if she needed help but she refused. I’ll go back and check on her today and will talk with social services as well.

…Organizations getting involved. UMCORE (United Methodists) received a $66 million grant from FEMA to provide 2000 mental health counselors and case workers to the Mississippi coast by January. There’s a “Burning Man” contingent that has taken up residence at the Buddhist Temple and helped get 100 Huffy beach cruzer bikes for people left without transportation. It’s a bizarre sight to see a typical Santa Cruz scene here in the heart of the ghetto.

…Thoughts in my head that I will save for another day.

May you see God's beauty in your circumstance today.


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