Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day 4

Talking, working, bonding ...
Today, on the house my team started on, I finished laying down wood panels to make a floor. It was awesome to get that sense of accomplishment. I know our team is not going to be building a complete house so it feels good to at least finish a part. I was surprised at how exhausted I was when I started out this morning, but somehow I found a second wind when I moved onto the next house. At the next house I helped line up these joists that go under the floor. I know it sounds weird but that was by far my favorite part so far. I was really good at making sure they were lined up on the marks. The only thing that sucked was I sunk my boot in a big pile of muddy water. I’m talented like that. I felt like the team really bonded today. We are a lot more comfortable together and I can talk to any person it doesn’t really matter who they are. I’m having mixed feelings thought. I miss my family and my bed but I know the second I leave here I’m going to miss everyone. Who knows if I will ever get to see and hang out with these people ever again? This experience is really nothing like I expected. I came here complaining about Camp Hope and now I just feel grateful to be experiencing this. I don’t even mind the lovebugs anymore. --Tracy Lavallee

A day of accomplishments ...

Most of us started on a new site/house, while others went back to finish the decking on the last house. I was looking for the puppy I met the first day (Precious), but she was not there =[. We worked through the morning getting a lot done by doing "toe nailing" and putting up the major boards to start the floor and joisting. Lunch came quick and everyone met at Margret's again to eat together. She brought everyone craw fish! 162 pounds of it too!!! I couldn't believe it. She just took out two boxes and dumped them on the table. Everyone had a field day. She even taught us how to eat them... the head off and put it in your mouth 2. Chew down on the head and suck it 3. Peel the tail and bit and push the middle 4. Eat the meat out..she did this in two seconds, quick and easy. I took like a few minutes and made a mess. It was so nice of her though; I couldn't believe it. She is such a strong woman. She also passed out her e-mail to everyone, begging for e-mails. I cant wait to e-mail her when I get home.
After lunch all started together back on the 2nd house. We started a new thing called joisting. We basically were working backwards from yesterday, because you need the joisting to start the floor. We had a goal of getting most of it done, but it always seems as though the last hour or so of each day is crunch time for everyone. We got them all done! That made me feel so good and accomplished about everything. We worked really well today... all of us. I also feel that we worked together. I feel closer to almost everyone now. Its so nice to know I can talk to everyone and joke around, even the chaperones. After our nice day of building, we took a quick trip down to Musicians' Village. It was cool to see all the different colored houses. Purple, pink, turquoise, red, yellow, blue, every color! It was nice. I did notice thought, that the other side of the street was very devastating, and looked abandoned. Thats how all the neighborhoods look to me. One side is good, another is bad.
Showers came after, and so did dinner: lasagna. We all ate and then just chilled out for most of the time. Some of us came to the computer room and watched Kendra do her live broadcast back to the school: that was so cooooooool. It was awesome to see back home and talk to people. Following that was the talent show. There was a lot of singing, and funny jokes. "V6" went up and rapped (L-Cat and J Lizzel were WICKED funny) and Mr.G sang and played his guitar (way to go Greene!). When that was over with, we all had circle time again, on the other side of the building this time (so we could actually hear each other). Yesterdays circle time seemed of more of "what you saw/ how you feel" bout the devastation. Tonight's seemed more of a "happy circle" ah-ah. It was very nice though. Everyone had something positive to say and we all had lots of fun. I really truly felt we all got closer and feel more like a big FAMILY and not just a group of kids and adults. All in all, today was awesome. I will admit these past couple days have been craaaaaazzzyyyyy with building , and running around and being busy. Today made me realize how glad I am for actually doing this, and also how I wish i could do more. I realized that what we are doing is a lot to the community, but to us (or me at least) it is not a enough what so ever. I really don't want it to end, and it's sad to know that is 1/2 way done =[ I do miss Nashua, but I really enjoy being here. This is a once in a lifetime thing and i am glad that WE ALL ARE A PART OF IT!!! G'night --Sam D

P.A.W. making a difference ...
Being in New Orleans has been such an incredible experience. In the beginning of the trip, I didn't really know too many people, but since we have started building, everyone has become so much closer to one another. We are truly a good team that works really well together. Today I had the chance to go back to the house on Piety Street to continue our flooring job from yesterday. I felt so accomplished knowing that a group of nine of us were capable of laying down an entire floor after one day of learning how to do it. Jessica, the owner of the home we were working on, is such a inspirational woman. She was out there all morning with us, helping us hammer nails into the floor of her brand new home. She was telling me how excited she was to paint murals in her children's bedrooms. She was so appreciative that our group was more than happy to lend her a helping hand. Once we finished the job at her house, we went over to the next site on Desire Street. There we learned how to pout in joists, which was a lot of hard work in the beginning. We decided to form some type of assembly line and accomplished the job quickly and efficiently.
It has been really cool to work with and get to know all of the Habitat, Americorp and other volunteers. Today I hammered a nail completely wrong and it split the wood. An Americorp worker, Annalisa, was saying to me, "It's okay, you're doing great! Keep going, all of your other nails were perfect!" She, Emma, and Stephanie really kept us motivated and made us feel as though we ARE capable of doing this if only we have hope and don't give up.
I've learned that in order to be in Louisiana after hurricane Katrina, the most important thing you can have is hope. I met a woman here named Margaret who has lived on Desire Street her whole life. Her house has been completely washed away and she is not eligible for a Habitat house. She now lives in a tiny, little FEMA trailer on “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” She jokes about her trailer, saying it's "The White House," because it is ridiculous the lack of help she has received from the government. In less than a year, that trailer will be taken away from her, and she will be living in a tent on that property. I have never met someone who has so much faith in life. Her son was murdered a little while back and she still believes that things will get better. She has welcomed us into her home to use her laptop and check our email, use her bathroom, and charge our cell phones. She made us a huge lunch for all of the volunteers and workers as a thank you. She is a thankful, kind and generous woman with such a big heart. All she wants is change and I believe that the Panthers At Work team is really making a difference here.
Tonight we had the talent show, which was so much fun. Everyone is really bonding and getting along well. I really don't want to go home until everything is fixed...there is so much that needs to be done here. I am extremely excited to continue building tomorrow and see what else our group is capable of accomplishing! -- Jodi

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