Baton Rouge – Day 2 & 3

Tuesday and Wednesday we woke up bright and early to be sent to work with a volunteer program known as All Hands Volunteers. All Hands is a non-profit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters.

The group I was assigned to went to a woman’s house, Miss Shirley, to install insulation and drywall. I felt comfortable with this job as I had helped install both prior to coming to Louisiana. During our lunch break Tuesday, our site supervisor, Heather, brought us outside and told us to look at the side of the house. On one outer wall of the house there was a water mark about 3 feet from the ground… this was where the flood waters had rested the longest. Miss Shirley’s daughter made an appearance later that same day and showed us pictures and videos of her mother’s house mostly submerged in water. She told us that her mother had lived in that neighborhood the longest, over 20 years, and had to be rescued out of her home by boat. Even though her family was the one impacted and going through these hard times, she offered us some traditional Louisiana food – crawfish and beignet. Her instilled hospitality and need for helping others, even in her own time of need, was something very inspiring to me.

By Wednesday we had finished the insulation and were moving onto drywall. However, our group had another surprise guest when Miss Shirley herself stopped by to see the progress. She thanked us endlessly and promised to keep in touch with us so we could follow their progress on her home. Her daughter has been creating a documentary of their journey from the start of the damage from the flooding to the end of the rebuilding. I look forward to seeing her final video and all of the changes made.

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