Second Work Day – Tuesday   Leave a comment

Up early again for meditation and yoga. Off to our work site, singing "I have a million nightingales" (music by Linda Hirschhorn) in a round in the van. Today we finished the siding on the back of the house. It took the entire work day: re-assembling the scaffolding, finishing the siding, caulking, putting on the primer, and finally the exterior paint. We took inventory of the tools inside the house and painted the cement blocks that hold up the house. They are a darker green color than the rest of the exterior. It has a calm look that blends well with the surrounding grass and trees. We worked on the front of the house: scraping, cleaning, and putting primer on.
 
Rick came by for lunch and asked each of us what we do for a living. We asked him too. He used to work for UPS. He is now retired and lives in Minnesota. Before Katrina, he had volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. After Katrina, he filled out an 11-page application form to work with UCC and got a call back right away. So, for 2-6 weeks at a time, he leaves home and helps with the rebuilding effort. Rick told us he had never met a grumpy volunteer. Then he remembered a woman who, at the end of her week, told him she’d never do that again. She was working on the demolition of a home, and when bugs came crawling out of the wood, she’d go sit in the car for a few hours. She told Rick she was praying for the other volunteers!
 
Patsy, Sylvia, and Kathe sprayed the inside of "our" house (the exterior walls) with an ammonia solution to a point somewhat above the water line. They wore special goggles so they wouldn’t breathe in that smell, and gloves. Then they went off to spray ammonia in two other houses. At the last house, the owners were living in a FEMA trailer on their property for over two years. They invited the three in to see. The interior was small and clean, with flowers on the counter. The lady was cooking red beans with garlic and green onions in a crock pot (to save on the cost of energy). The simmering beans smelled delicious. These folks had recently lost their 24-year-old son to a drive-by shooting in Louisiana. They told this story carefully, without emotion, having been through too much. They also have a daughter and a grandchild.
 
At Home Depot Patsy met a woman who knew right away we were volunteers. She thanked us and said that volunteers had painted her father’s house. He goes outside again and again to admire it.
 
We were all beat by the end of the workday, and glad to pack up and leave by about 4:00 pm.
 
Then showers and off to downtown New Orleans. We passed the Superdome on the way, and must have driven on some of the freeway sections where people were stranded after the flooding. At Mulate’s we had seafood and jambalaya and desserts and Cajun music and… Dancing!!! One older couple we met goes there four times a week. It was great to watch them dance. They taught Amy some steps!
 
Some of us wandered along the waterfront and into the French Quarter, all the way to Cafe du Monde, where tables are covered with powdered sugar from beignets. Too full to eat or drink any more, we walked back to the van and arrived back "home".
Signing off –Bonnie

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Posted May 6, 2008 by NOLA-er in Uncategorized

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