Do Good Travel, Biloxi continued
I've received another travel update from Caitlin, my volunteering friend. She's currently in Biloxi helping to rebuild homes devastated by Katrina. If you missed the first entry, you can click here.
Biloxi experienced about 70% loss of homes and businesses. We are working in East Biloxi--the low income area; where nearly every home was flooded to the ceiling. The water surge was so strong that some houses were completely ripped from their foundations; we call them "floaters." Every house needs to be mucked - taken down to the bare house frame - and given a new roof....
It's the people here that make this so worthwhile.
He's from Vietnam, married (His wife was 8 months pregnant at the time of the hurricane!) with four children. During the storm he led his family to the room above the main floor, right below the roof. He placed the children in coolers in an effort to protect them if the water reached them. He then went outside and tried to "borrow" his neighbor's boat, which was already underwater. He tried diving down to where the boat was tied but kept getting swept away by the current.
After three rounds of swimming back to the boat and diving to reach it, he gave up and swam back to his roof. He held on to that roof for 10 hours until the water level finally went down...Billy and his family made it and are doing much better-they just got a new shower installed into their place today. Yeah!
There is also Pete.
He is one of the volunteers here. When I met him I assumed he was your standard white collar worker doing a good deed. When I got to know him I learned that he was (and is) an extremely nice, gentle, and very talented carpenter. It was only much later that I discovered that Pete was in fact a Habitat Home recipient and that he now works at Home Depot in Arlington, VA designing kitchens.
The best part of this story is that after going home to take 2 of his 5 kids to college he is planning to ask Home Depot to permanently transfer him down here. For the next year he plans to work at Home Depot at night and spend the days repairing the 7 homes we are working on today.
Unbelievable! Biloxi keeps on teaching/giving me more than I am giving her!!!!