Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 2 Greetings from New Orleans

To finish Mike's story (the son of the owner of the house).
Mike has a positive, thankful attitude. He says that he had never been outside New Orleans and looks at his experience as an opportunity to travel and meet new people. He is thankful to all of the volunteers who have come to work on the house. He and his mom have been living in a trailer (the size of a travel trailer) in front of the house for 3+ years and it is now coated with mold on the outside. They look forward to the completion of the house and are excited to move back in.

The house is about a 1000 sq ft with a living room, kitchen/dining area, 4 bedrooms and 1-2 bathrooms (no fixtures yet). Mike's mom was thrilled to see how much painting the AWOL team got done and started to cry, possibly because of a miscommunication whereby one wall was painted the wrong color. She was really grateful for all of the work that was done and how much closer this makes her move in date. Not to worry, our amazing team is stopping at Home Depot for excellent primer and paint brushes (Karen, Melanie and Roxanne are particular about the quality of brush).

"Because of Winn-Dixie" (the very nice store near the job site) the team has a bathroom stop and grocery shopping. Interesting to note that the bathroom was spotless at noon and a disaster at 5:00pm on the way home.

Our Construction Leader, Sean, did a wonderful job of organizing the team into groups and keeping everyone going. He is truly practicing the motto here - PUF - which stands for patience, understanding, and flexibility. He was diligently planning for the next day and collecting supplies last night, finally enjoying a Stephen King book for what was left of the evening. This morning the team was adding a few words to the motto like tolerance, team work. Steve and Andy came up with one to reflect their painting - OC - for "oh crap." The team was feeling muscles they didn't know they had and Sean was rallying the troops, and practicing PUF (lots of PUF).

Drivers Sean, Roxanne, and Beth are mastering the traffic and use the Superdome as a point of reference, some more frequently than others.

Our amazing multi-tasking leader, Chef Beth, is keeping everyone well fed and happy. We have had delicious meals and the other teams (2 groups of college students from Minnesota) look longingly at our spread. Course, last night all three teams had spaghetti, salad, and french bread, and ours was awesome!

Last night after dinner, Allison and Jamica were introduced to the world of Scrabble. Beth and Melanie are quite the experts at word finding, especially in speed Scrabble. Andy stomped everyone at Yahtzee (the force was with him). Meghan was delighted to view Dancing With the Stars with her family (the Dancing Ushmans). Steve spent the evening on the computer; must be working on next weeks sermon. Norm did a lot of reading, though admits he rarely turned a page and frequently "rested his eyes."

We are all cringing but adjusting to the total lack of recycling here. Everything is. tossed in the trash. Melissa, more about her later, tells us that they tried to recycle one year and everything was just tossed in the garbarge truck. According to Joy, a friend of Beth's daughter and is here for a year of mission work through college (UE2), explained that the feeling here is that recycling is a sign of white affluency and not practiced. There is very little in the way of middle class here, lots of poor and some very affluent. The working poor have mainly minimum wage jobs. We have also noticed a slower pace in accomplishing things, except driving which is close to kamikaze.

Stay tuned for more, possibly with pictures or the video Allison made of the painters singing "Journey" with gusto!