Monday, October 10, 2005

Symbols and signs

You can go through life thinking how open and big your world is, and then you walk upon something that reminds you that in this world each of us are no bigger a life as an ant is to us...This has happened to me a zillion times a day here...I had a belief that my world was so large, after all the puttering around the country studying, learning, growning, and feeding the street people, that I could have a grasp on this situation...How wrong I was...I felt Big in my world, but in the real world I am a mere ant, a worker ant...Something happened last night that burdened my heart and saddened me, so with feet too heavy to stand, legs to sore to put beneath me, and a weight on my shoulders it seemed impossible to find the lessons in something that makes no sense, or has no rhyme or reason, I began my day today...I knew that I couldn't bring the people down that we have all come down here to help...They need smiles and ears, and hugs, and prayers and when today began I couldn't give it...So as I was told when I got here, when things get to be too much (and they will) that you must take time away, time for yourself...I moped around my first hour awake...So I knew I had to refocus, and maybe even be reminded again why I was here,. When some people who haven't been to the beach yet wanted to go down, I joined them.
This journey today will stay with me for a long time to come...We drove slow and talk was mostly light and casual until we went over the rail road tracks and then there were no more words...What could we have said, each of us just looked in every direction and recording what we saw for later but little was said...What these kids didn't understand was that we had blocks to go until we were truly in the twilight zone, to where it feels like something straight out of a horror picture...Driving down the road we came to the corner of Waveland(Ave) and Fell(St.) and we had to stop and reflect the symbolism of that moment , of that message...Again the scene left me speechless so at the beach I wandered down to the water, turning my back to the sic-fi novel gone horrible awry behind me and tried to watch the water...After a time I notice a few shells, and thought how kind mother eath was to start leaving her treasures again, for so much to has been washing up are man's treasures now covered in toxic sludge and waste, and here in this sadness and distraction sits a beautiful shell, Mother gifted my this treasure as a reminder of why these people need us right now...I had no way of knowing how profound this shell ended up beign for me...I as began to walk over to this shell I notice something buried half in the sand just beyond the shell, so I start to go and look at what it might be, at first I thought it was a notebook or journal, but then I noticed that I knew this shape well, it was the case to a video, so I bent to look at it, and that's when I realized what I was looking at...A video my own babies love Pocahantas 2 and it hit me like a ton of bricks and down I went...What child is missing this movie and all her other special treasure that every young child holds dear to their hearts...But then again...Maybe she's not missing it, because she joined our heavenly father and she'll never know her favorite video is ruined and she's the one being missed...I cried for this child, for all these children, and then I cried for my children...When I was finished crying, I knew what needed to be done...And then it came to me...We need a space that we can step to for a moment of surround when our burdens feel to heavy...A place to meditate, go for yoga, or ti-chie, or perhaps just to pray...We have many areas set up, but this is space we share with the people we are here to help...And sometimes we need to step away from their sadness to deal with our own.So I began with an eight by ten tarp and buy the end of the day, we now have a huge tarp and stage of sorts, a couple rigged tables, few chairs, blankets, and tapistries, hanging beads, to liven and lift the load...We now have a 'hippie haven' for when we need to tune out...You have to find the time for your self...So you can keep giving of yourself...I tried to give that to these people working to hard to help these people...I have NEVER met a stronger working, harder working, happy group of people in my life...I am so blessed to get the chance to work with these people...I hope this space can be healthy for everyone so hard at work down here...So many people depend on these hard working people, but anyone that's ever tended to a person whom couldn't do on thier own.Well the people of Waveland can't get on their feet and do all it takes to get something as simple as soap all at the same time, they need all the help they can get...


Firelight said...

MommaKaboom Hey sweetheart I awoke early (about 2:00am)mostly from missing you I think. Funny how you get use to rolling over and touching someone in your sleep but keep on sleeping. But let them be gone and Your wide awake! Anyway I was thinking of you and wanted to do something physical (3-d) so that you could see that You were in and on my mind. If your paying close attention a song is on your blog. I hope that you like my choice. It may not be your very first pick but I keep remembering you and your scarf dance. I will adjust the code tomorrow when I get time between the kids and working. I printed up enough work to keep them busy for a good while. Anyway..... I hope your getting enough rest tonight and not pushing yourself too hard. Sleep well **Huggs** **kisses Forehead** I love you very much!


Firelight said...

I found something of intrest to you... It a newspaper aritical about you guys down there. Put quite a bit of work in today and still have school assignments for tomorow to print. Enjoy the story!

Relief effort for Hurricane Katrina nowhere near over
Leah Harry, Special to the Times-Standard

Editor’s note: Leah Harry, of Eureka, traveled to the Gulf states to assist with relief efforts in the hurricane-ravaged region.

Algiers, Waveland and Biloxi. These are just a few of the names of places where relief efforts are going strong and lives of local people are a daily effort in survival. There is no easy fix to this situation, but it is evident that more help is needed.

Relief centers are set up all over to provide food, ice, water, hygiene and baby supplies, porta-potties and sometimes hot meals or showers to residents. Tents are set up amid lumber piles where houses used to be. Entire lots are covered with tent villages. Business are closed or destroyed, cars are ruined and in some places piled on top of each other, no one is working, no one is doing anything except surviving, and others are providing the relief.

People have found themselves here from all over the country like Bob Griffin from Florida, who says when asked why he came, “because I couldn’t stay home and not do it. There needs to be energy that heals here.”

He explains what it is like being here: “Nobody is preaching anything. They all are out here saying, ‘What do you need?’” His sentiments are repeated in a phone call with the Common Ground Relief center located in Algiers, a suburb of New Orleans. “When you come down here you have to remember it is not a political thing. We are all working together here. ... We work side by side with everybody.”

Maybe this is why so many people have found themselves here. The Vets For Peace have volunteers from Maine to New Mexico, and even some crew working with film maker Michael Moore. One volunteer with the Vets for Peace, when asked how long he planned on staying, said: “I don’t know. I just quit my job and came out here.”

There, of course, is the military and police as well as Red Cross and occasionally one can find a FEMA truck in a relief center, but the majority of the work is being done by your everyday people from church groups to the “Rainbow Family.” That team provides hot meals three times a day in Waveland, Miss., and serves the hungry, often including the police and military who are tired of MREs as are the rest of those hit by the hurricane.

One couple explained that they drove an hour and a half to get to Waveland because the relief center where they were close to only was run by the government and was providing only water, ice and self-heating MREs.

The relief center in Waveland, on the other hand, had those things as well as hot food (provided by the “Rainbow Family”), showers, hygiene supplies, baby supplies, a food selection, a medical tent providing tetanus shots, clothes (most of which were in Dumpsters because of the lack of volunteer help to organize and protect them from the rains), and various other donated supplies. The couple explains, “You think this may not look like much, but it’s pretty nice compared to where we are.”

It’s true the distribution center or relief site in Waveland did not look like much. Trash and debris line everything, including this giant parking lot converted into a distribution center.

The ground is toxic because of the local chemical plant that was only miles from this site, and the ditches are filled with green-black stagnant water. As soon as something touches the ground everyone is encouraged to throw it away.

Things are in chaos and there is a constant hum of action, trucks being unloaded, food being made, garbage being thrown away. This place is no pretty picture. But right now, it is all that these people have.

The relief worker in this scenario is incredibly important. Everyone here is being used to their fullest potential -- medics, cooks, drivers, builders, organizers, even those who play guitar or drums in the evening seem to be playing an important role in lifting people’s spirits.

One night, the local police that were on shift from midnight until morning sat with the drummers in the “Rainbow Family,” because they too seemed to need some relief from the grind and intensity of harsh conditions and hard work. One officer from out of the area even took a picture to show his friends back home. This place is in a revolutionary time without a revolution. It was a hurricane that brought people from everywhere to so many of the relief sites scattered all over these Gulf states, but it is good will and a common vision that keeps them here.

These sites are just some of the many across Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. These people are just a few of the countless that are here to help. It was said by many that their time here is like a “calling” and many seem driven in this way. The beauty and intensity of the cooperation and dedication is a true testimony of human good will and spirit, but the question remains is it under control? Or do they need more help down there?

If the idea of countless homes, trees, cars and businesses destroyed and cities decimated yet still filled with people wondering what to do next does not answer the question, take the words of the organizers for Common Ground Relief center in Algiers: “Come on out, yes we do need help.”