I have never been to the south, nor ever had an inkling to. But my friend suggested I sign up for this OSLV trip - I thought, hey cheap spring break trip, sounds good. Little did I know, that this trip would recenter me and show that things are not always as they appear. As the bus traveled further down south, I saw the sticks and swamps of Mississippi and Louisiana. Things seemed as I expected, but then we hit the city of New Orleans... oh my. I feel in love! The people, music, food, sights, sounds, smells, it all hit me and I gorged myself on the culture of New Orleans, with excitement and joy.
Those first few days were filled with fun and enjoyment. I wanted to gather as much as I could. But now I am on day 5 and I have been changed and resifted to a new understanding of New Orleans. It is not always about me and my enjoyment with my surroundings. Traveling to the lower 9th ward and seeing the devastation that Katrina brought and then hearing the stories of Kim, the lady whose house my team is working on, my perspective has sharpened. Not only am I filled with sorrow, but disappointment and anger. That our country and government would let these conditions continue in this city that I immediately fell for. How could this happen in America? to Americans? how could our government put these people in tents under overpasses, in infested trailers, and have no home or community to go back to. This is far greater than me. Although I have not made any conclusive and large strides to Kim's house, still what help I could offer I did. I am no longer concerned with my own well being while down here, I am privileged and have people who care and help me. But these people need us, need our attention, our time, and our help.
Thank you New Orleans, OSLV, my AMAZING group, and Alicia and Corey for a wonderful and opening experience.
- Beth Homa