About that time

I'm finally settling down from all my travels and thought that I'd begin to write about my first trip this month, to Waveland, Mississippi.

To start, when I first heard of this trip, I wasn't keen on going only because I knew that it would be really hard work, and sometimes (just sometimes) when I'm pushed to my limits, I can be hard to be around. And I prefer for people to think I'm wonderful, so I said no. At first. Then, the conviction came. I was saying no for the wrong reasons. I threw all the plans before the Lord, sent out support letters and had all my money in 5 days. Then, two days into the trip, I had almost all my money for a second trip I didn't know I'd be taking. I guess God had other plans. He always seems to.

When our plane landed in Gulport, it was clear that we had left Kansas, or Los Angeles. The airport itself seemed to have sustained a great amount of damage. While we were walking out to meet our driver, we saw a great big sign that said, "Thank you to all our volunteers and relief workers. We appreciate your service," (paraphrase) and it hit me again that this wasn't your ordinary trip.

As we drove to the church, we saw thousands of huge oak trees snapped in half, homes and sheds lodged in those trees and debris everywhere. I had expected a dramatic emotional response to everything, but I felt nothing. Just astonishment.

I had been told not to have an agenda, or expectation of a certain activity that we'd participate in. The only thing that I was sure we would do was muck out houses. We actually never did that. The Michigan team did, and boy did they. Those people were incredible.

We came in on a Thursday night, met the rest of our team that flew in from the Sacramento area, ate and went to bed. I woke up the next day at 5:45 a.m. and went running. I just wanted to scope out the damage a little more, and get some exercise in. I think I ran for nearly two miles one way when I realized 1. I was freezing, and 2. I had to run back. I found myself running and running completely blown away by my surroundings. Uprooted trees, homes crushed by uprooted trees, half homes, homes with "Demolish" spray painted on the sides, others with "The South will rise again" spray painted on theirs. It was unlike anything I've ever seen, and I'm afraid I'm doing a poor job of conveying what it truly looked like. You just have to see for yourself.

When I returned, we all ate breakfast and were driven to a house in which we'd finish drywall, mud and tape and sand. We quickly got to work. We didn't have fancy power tools, for the most part. The men had to cut drywall with razors. We did a great deal of sanding with sanding sponges and boy did my arms feel that after a few hours.

I love being underestimated because it just means that people will always be surprised by what I can do. It's probably a pride thing. But no one, except our team leaders, knew that I grew up in a remodel, so consequently the men on the team never thought to ask me if I could mud/tape, etc. Well, I volunteered at one point, and I think it was a pleasant surprise to many that not only could I do so, but I did a bang up job...better than some of the men. :) I'm a showman, I know.

To end this "to be continued" post, here's a picture of some of our team members after working all day on Cheryl's house. More to come. I just don't want to overwhelm you. I'm also setting up a photo album, but all my pictures are on my brother's laptop. Thanks for reading, if you did.

Posted by Portia at December 27, 2005 10:34 AM | TrackBack

Nothing like a run to get your bearings.

I look forward to hearing more about the trip.

Posted by: Captoe at December 27, 2005 09:36 PM

Let me tell you...I liked mudding better than i did sanding. I think im scared from all the sanding i use to do during the summer working for my dad. You know what's funny? I look at mudding jobs now and analyze like crazy. If im ever hard up for the money, I think i will look into the mudding industry. You know, start my own s construction thing. I think we briefly discussed something like that...hehe

Posted by: Kandice at December 28, 2005 11:20 AM

Oh Yeah!! We'd make a killing mudding and taping houses! :)

And, I'm the same way now, when I see homes under construction.

Posted by: Portia at December 28, 2005 01:06 PM

Hey...you do have pictures! Yea...I don't totally have to use my imagination!

Posted by: Cassie at December 30, 2005 07:19 PM

Seeing myself in that picture really encourages me to loose weight.

Posted by: Debra Elaine Williams at January 6, 2006 04:51 PM