Rebuilding the Gulf Coast
This church is very active in the community and in places far away from home. The first Saturday of each month, groups from the church are assigned to a home by an area social services agency. They do home repairs and yard work if necessary. This is just one example of many projects that they undertake. Further afield, my brother and his wife took a youth group to Alaska to help rebuild a church, and for two years my brother (once without and once with his wife) went to Belize to help build homes in a village there. In all of these trips, they stayed in local facilities and lived as the villagers lived, very spartan by our standards.
Last week, my brother was one of three church members who did some advance work in Pearlington, Mississippi, a town that suffered much damage from Hurricane Katrina. They were engaged in the work of rebuilding, but were also looking at the suitability of bringing church youth down in the summer to do more work.
My brother said,
We had a good trip. Pearlington is in bad shape, but some progress is being made. We helped put up sheet rock at a house. The water had gotten up about six feet on the second floor of the house. The accommodations were the worst part. We did OK, but the facilities in Belize were better. Only portable toilets and cots in a former library were available. It was in the 90’s while we were there, and the bugs were out. It will be a challenge taking our church youth there this summer.
Evidently, they were bit pretty badly by insects – probably the dreaded no-see-ums. They should be gone by summer, replaced by the mosquitoes. Pick your poison. At any rate, I’ve seen the pictures and heard their stories about Belize, where it was evident that they were definitely not living in posh accommodations. It is shocking to know that, all these months post-Katrina, people of good will who are helping to rebuild (and my guess is that there aren’t many folks other than volunteers who help the poorer people) need to stay in Third World conditions.
An outrageous postscript: I read in today’s New York Times (editorial entitled, The Wrong Priorities) that Tom Delay is attempting to attach a rider to an emergency spending bill for Iraq and hurricane recovery that would, for a price tag of some $700 million, relocate a rail line that has already been reconstructed post-Katrina. Why? Because it would benefit the casinos and coastal developers. The editorial reminds us that the infamous pork of the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere only cost a paltry $223 million. Does Congress have no shame?
I just get sputtering mad when I read this stuff.