Saturday, March 24, 2007

One Week

***This blog was written last night after 1am and I was unable to post it till now***

One Week

For starters, the style in which I blog is random--which ever comes up when
I'm thinking is what is going to be typed.

It's amazing how people often take for granted how one week can really
change individuals into people that they are meant to be. And for the past
week, the respective individuals who were here in New Orleans, we have begun
that process and as individuals, we have a better image of ourselves that
ever before. This week has been filled with physical labor,
cooking/cleaning, watching children, monitoring hallways and misc. jobs.
Throughout the process, we have heard stories from the citizens of New
Orleans. Their struggle to fight for their home has truly inspired me to see
how a home should really be looked at, because too many of us forget that
sense of home.

Everything this week began at 6am, which is earlier then I would get up for
school, and we're usually on site and working by 8am. It's also strange
that I find it harder to wake up early for school but here I'm able to get
up without as much of struggle as I normally would have. Sleep here is
different, especially with bunks in a large room with all the other
volunteers, and being woken up by 6am with whomever had that job, and they
got to wake everyone with their choice in music is a smart concept.

I got several different experiences with the variety within the work that
was available. Of the many that I had gotten the experiences from, the one
that I really enjoyed the most was from today's work day. We had gotten
there around 8am and began working. Shortly after, the other Hamline
students and I were told about her story and we were just in disbelief in
the manner in which individuals take advantage of those who already lost so
much. And it didn't just happen once, it happened three times to be exact,
each from different contractors--plumbing, electrician and overall
construction. We finished putting up the drywall and mudded what needed to
be done and that covered our overall day. The homeowner who was on site most
of the day cooked us the most amazing lunch with variety in all. It was, for
the most part, amazing due to the fact that for everyday for the past week,
we had been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was a good finish
to our week of work.

Originally, we planned on visiting the lower ninth ward yesterday, but due
to unforeseen circumstances, we delayed it to tonight. The lower ninth ward
was the hardest hit area, by hardest I mean flooding. They were at the base
of where the levees broke, and if you could think about a neighborhood
filled with houses and activity, there was nothing but broken down houses,
empty wide fields and no children on the playgrounds. There were many
arguments about whether picture taking was a good or bad idea, and after
thinking about it most of the week, I decided to take a few. I felt that it
would be beneficial because it could be useful if I was to ever tell that
story to someone who really wanted to learn more about the trip that I a
part of for a week.

An hour was the time that we were given, and it was really challenging to
spend that entire time there. I had difficultly with most of it because of
my cultural and religious beliefs and knowing that there were unsettled
spirits within that area really made me think about the wondering spirits
that were still there. I found myself shaking and speechless with little eye
contact with the individual that I was with. We were walking for sometime
when we heard a baby cry in the background and when that happened, we found
ourselves thinking about how many of the lives lost were children, crying. I
thought of my little cousins, family members that I would give the world to
and just picture that I was unable to do anything and to have them lost
forever was really hard because it's something I couldn't imagine handling.
From there we found ourselves silent, as we left the lower ninth ward,
little words were spoke, but we all had in our minds the lives and stories
of the untold individuals who were lost.

It's hard to say where I truly stand on the issue. Even after all this week
and everything that has come from it, I need time to process it all. It can
vary from just like that to a week or so and I don't know yet when I'll be
able to comprehend what is needed and how I can be a part of that. I often
found myself wanting more time, time to be here and do more than I have
already done because I felt as if our week here, that we have only done a
little in what will seem like forever in the efforts of rebuilding New

With that in mind, I am off to ponder the world and challenge myself in a
new light.

Teng Lor
CSI Group Leader

1 comment:

Javier said...

Teng, thank you for sharing your experiences for all of us. I can only imagine the feelings are experiencing.