If you go out of your way to help and praise others and be sincere about it, the feeling that consumes you is something you cannot even begin to explain. I believe in working, helping hands. I believe that if you have a pair of hands that are healthy, willing, and understanding, nothing is stopping you from changing a person’s life in need. I think that a caring person who can pride themselves on the work they do for others is a gift that God gave to the world that should be one of the most cherished possessions we can account for.
February break: my best of friends are off to Florida, The Bahamas, Mexico, and cruises. At the same time, I am traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana to discover a place where the helping of others seemed to be quite rare. Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 2 ½ years ago. Learning how to sheetrock, dig trenches, mud and drill, I became one of these helping hands. While there, I visited the Ninth Ward: the poverty-stricken area where the hurricane hit the city the hardest. The levee, nearly twenty five feet tall, has been rebuilt. That is the only thing that has been rebuilt in that area since; otherwise it was utter emptiness. I saw house after house still tipping to the side, completely crushed and collapsed roof tops, houses with numbers spray painted for the amount of lives lost, holes punched into the roof where a struggling human being tried to escape from drowning in their own home, and not one single person. We drove by a brand new playground that was just wishing for the scampering of feet and giggles of playing children. It was built in the hopes families would return, but no one has. Nearly two and a half years after a horrendous hurricane and it still seems hopeless.
As we drove out of the Ninth Ward, I saw hope. Habitat for Humanity was building hundreds of homes in the area, while volunteers, such as our group, were helping individual people rebuild and renew their homes. As I worked solidly for five days on a woman’s home that had been flooded and deteriorated, I came to realize that if it weren’t for us or for the people who came down week after week, she would have no hope and no chance to live in the home that she has known since 1972. I know what we did was minute in way, but to be part of a team and society that helps and gives so much is a gift all in itself. By providing the two helping hands that we have, hope is regaining and conquering the trauma that still remains.