Friday, November 04, 2005

Biloxi, Mississippi - The Katrina Bomb

As many of you know I spent a week in Mississippi during the month of October. My mission was two fold - repair damaged roofs and tarp them off and to "muck out" houses that had been flooded.

It was a tiring but rewarding week and my heart was warmed by the resiliency of many of these people in the midst of what could only be described as utter disaster. Most of the astonishing damage was done obviously in the coastal areas, and as you'll see when you look at my pictures it literally looks like an atomic bomb went off. Amazingly there were area's that were barely touched, but most people felt some effect.

The first day we helped an 80 year old woman who had lived in her house for 40 years. Our job: remove everything including the drywall, insulation, flooring, and ceilings. When we were finished the house was basically a frame and a foundation, nothing was salvageable. There was a pile of junk probably 16 feet high in her front yard awaiting to be hauled away. You'd think this woman would have been devasted, but she was very up beat and very kind to us. She made it her mission to come back to the house every day to feed a bird that had survived the storm. She was thankful to be alive. I doubt I would have had her attitude had the same thing happened to me.

On a funny note, her neighbor had just purchased a brand new large screen Plasma TV before the hurricane didn't survive, but we didn't have the heart to throw it in the junk pile!

It will take many years to clean up the mess and rebuild, but it will get done and probably quicker than most people think. We saw hundreds of relief workers in Mississippi working hard to bring back America to a place that had suddenly turned into a war zone.

I had a few new experiences as well....

I ate Fried Catfish for the first time
I ate Fried Dill Pickles for the first time
I ate a bunch of fried stuff that I didn't really know what was inside....hopefully for the last time!

That week in Biloxi taught me how fortunate we are, but it also assured me that if we experience a disaster in California (earthquake anybody?) that we will have an onslaught of Americans on our doorsteps ready to help us pick up the pieces and move on.

As a side note, the organization that I was working under was Samaritan's Purse, which is run by Franklin Graham (Billy Graham's son).

Please take some time to view the photos by clicking on the link above. There are a lot and some may not make much sense, I haven't had time to edit them....

Scott Dauenhauer