This is the last night here in New Orleans for the Habitat for Humanity Sponsorship. We spent the past 4 days from 8am to 4pm working hard to help rebuild the city. We were working in Orleans East. When we toured the lower 9th ward, we discovered that where we were building houses in Orleans East actually had over 10 plus feet of water from Katrina. Our Build Leader, Hans, informed us that the neighborhood we are working in was once a bad crime area that was completely destroyed. Habitat has bought the land and is rebuilding it into a nice little neighborhood.
Over the past 4 days at the Habitat site, we have done a number of strenuous activities. We ended up working on 2 houses side by side. The first day we prepped one house by cleaning and getting the outside ready for concrete driveway and sidewalks. We also worked on putting up soffit for the other house.
On Thursday, we were awarded with a certificate from Avery Strada, Director of Volunteers, for Habitat-NOLA. This award was given for our continued support and dedication to rebuilding the city.
We also poured concrete all day this day but still found time to enjoy a nice dinner at Bacchanal in the evening.
I must say the work we did on this trip is some of the hardest work I have done in a long time. We were all exhausted and dripping with sweat but knew the work was well worth the effort.
The final thing we did to basically complete one of the houses is install the fence.
Although the trip is ending, I feel so blessed to have been part of this years trip. Being the trip leader may have seemed stressful at some times, but knowing how much good work we did makes it all well worth it. This trip brought 8 strangers together and I am confident to say we all now have 7 new friends. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to have had such a great group of individuals that loved to put in the hard work, but also loved to laugh with each other all the time.
This may be the last year Berklee will be sponsoring a trip to NOLA, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the city is done rebuilding. There is still a lot of work to be done in the entire city to rebuild. There are still buildings with the spray paint on them from Katrina. The poverty in New Orleans is still extremely high and many people cannot afford homes or upkeep of houses. I hope to be able to come back to the city in the future to help even further whether with Berklee again or on my own possibly with my family.