Our group of 16 from KC is about to start our second day of work down here in Diamond, Louisiana, a tiny bayou town about an hour South of New Orleans. I didn't even know there was land an hour south of Louisiana, but it turns out people have been living down in this area for hundreds of years. There's a small Native American community who has been living here for over 300 years. But this is a flat and watery place to live, and when the levies were topped by the storm surge from Katrina, people's houses were washed away.
We worked in four different groups yesterday, and had four different experiences. One group had a pretty exhausting day of sanding, taping and spackling, one group was doing more skilled work framing windows and cutting trim. One group had a dirty morning picking up and hauling trash and then ran out of work by lunch. And the last group--which was just me and some of the other people who are volunteering this week--did a little electrical work, a little sanding and took a long trip to Lowes which is about a 45 minute drive away.
So, last night, when we sat around to debrief the day with our "highs" and "lows", we were concerned about there being enough work for all of us this week, but really
delighted to have learned some new skills, made it through the day, enjoyed each other's company and met some of the families who are going to move into their new home.
But my highlight ended up being hearing Vernon talk about his highlights from the day. He said, "I've got two high points today. The first one was picking up trash at the side of the highway! And the second was that I got to help Mr. Dean make a bench." His incredibly positive attitude did a lot to help mine.