Thursday, August 09, 2007

Reporting Live from the MS Gulf Coast

I thought I would have been more efficient at getting a post up here while still on my trip. Ryan and I have been in Long Beach Mississippi since Saturday and will be leaving this Saturday morning. We are working with the folks at Camp Coast Care which is run by the Lutheran and Episcopal Services in Mississippi and funded primarily through the Episcopal Relief and Development.

Among many things it is hot in Mississippi, the heat index for the past few days has been well over 100 and the sun has been shining very brightly. I spent today not feeling well, as I have been sick to my stomach since arriving on Saturday.

I have also not taken many pictures because of the nature of the job I have been participating in. When I was here in June I took great pleasure in laying ceramic tile, and although it was hot and slightly strenuous it was not all that difficult.

This week I have had the opportunity to learn what it is like to rebuild your life from the ground up. After the storm many people were not able to return to their houses for many reasons. The house we are working on lost it's roof so received water from the top and the bottom. After the roof was replaced the family moved back in but was soon trouble by illness caused by the mold that was present from all of the water damage. The only way to fix this problem is to completely gut the house, spray down the studs and floors with bleach and start over. So this is what we did, ripped up carpet, tore out drywall and paneling, scrapped up tile, etc. It was hot, dusty, moldy, smelly, and uncomfortable. I don't think that I've worked harder in my life. But it is well worth it. The woman who was living in the house with her son has not had a normal life for quite some time, she's been through a divorce, lost most of her money to her husband, had to pay back taxes she thought were taken care of, lost her primary home and all her possessions in the storm, and dealt with the illness from living in the house. She has had some amazing friends who have helped her get back on her feet, and now some great volunteers from all over the country will help her move back into a home.

I will take some pictures of Mississippi away from the job site and post them soon.

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