Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kiln, Mississippi - December 2005

 As I mentioned before, December of my freshman year I went down to Kiln with other college students from my church, St. Matthew. At this time, it had been exactly four months since Hurricane Katrina. 

Sadly, it looked like we were there the day after because hardly anything had been done. 

The church had arranged the trip through Samaritan's Purse and their emergency relief program. We stayed at a church where we slept on the floor, showered in this strange semi truck full of showers, and helped those who's lives had been destroyed.  

This is the base of a house - what was left of someone's home
The first day we were there, we drove down to the ocean to look around a bit. It was almost as if there was never anyone there; it was completely deserted, and the only signs of life were pieces of homes. 

Stairs that used to lead to the front door of a home

What was left of a gas station
Throughout our time down there, we went to different homes in the area to help start cleaning up the pieces. This was the first home we went to, which only had a foot or two of water in it during the storm. We sorted through belongings, helped clean and painted.

These next few pictures were at the second house we worked on, with another group of students, for two whole days. This house was almost completely under water from the storm, and was located right on a bayou. 

Our group (yes that's a boat in a tree behind us)
 We spent the two days completely gutting the house--tearing out drywall, shoveling out belongings that were now covered in mud and pulling out appliances. We had to wear tyvek suits, masks over our faces and gloves, as the mold in the home was dangerous.

 By the end of the first day we had huge piles of belongings and debris from the storm, piled as high as the house itself. 

With all the work of gutting the house done, the resident now had to have the house inspected to see if it was even still safe to live in. If the house had shifted at all in the storm, they would have to tear it down and start completely from scratch. Which, of course, added to the feeling of helplessness we felt, because despite all of our work it still could have been for nothing.

I had seen all the pictures on the news and had heard the devastating reports. Nothing I can say can describe being there, in the middle of it all. The smell of mold and rotting food. All the belongings and photographs covered in mud. And the look on the persons face when we showed up at their front door to help.

Even now, five years later as I'm writing this, my heart hurts wondering how those people we met have recovered, and how they are today. I wanted to go back. I meant to send care packages. I even debated dropping out of school and just staying down there. But none of that happened and that's another reason I'm here, writing this.

The news reports stopped just weeks after Katrina, as they do with any major event. People are still recovering today. From the flood in Nashville all the way to Haiti, Samaritan's Purse has not forgotten, and are sending help still. 

Want to go?! Click here to find a current project to work on. And let me know when you are going so I can come with you.

Be the change. Make the difference. 

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