Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 4 - Ocean Springs to Pascagoula Mississippi

Early morning wake up call - 6am ... breakfast was grits, biscuits and gravy - we had to pack our own lunches for the day and were on the road to our work site by 7:30.

We are working on a site that is about 3 blocks from the ocean.  There are quite a few homes that are missing (you can see where they once were as the footings are still there), there are some that are still damaged and probably won't be fixed unless a program like Habitat steps in to help.
We are working on a relatively new kind of project that Habitat has started here that is custom to this area.  They take mobile homes that were sent down here after Katrina and are raising them up, above Katrina's flood level to meet the new building codes.  Then they put additions onto them.  The house in Pascagoula that we are working on is built on 14 foot stilts, it was about the size of a single wide trailer, and is now about 1200 square feet.  The shell of the house is complete, framed, trusses are in place and there are sheets of wood on the roof.  There is a large set of stairs going to the house and a porch (but no railing yet). 

When we arrived, we began with safety procedures, the list of things to accomplish this week, prayer and devotional.  Laura, Emily and Breanna were assigned the clean up of inside the house.  There have been large amounts of rain the last week, so they had to sweep and squeegee out all the water inside the house.  Then they had to hand hammer in all the strapping for the trusses on the inside of the house.  Bill and John worked on finishing the roof and getting all the sheets up there secured.  Pat worked with an Americorps volunteer named Michael (who we worked with last year) to reinforce the trusses.  Doug, Lee, Lisa, Jodie, Kerstie and I disassembled the scaffolding on one side of the house and reassembled it on the other side of the house.  Now this scaffolding is 3 storeys high - remember that the base of the house doesn't start until it is 14 feet in the air...it means that everything we will be doing this week will be up a ladder or on scaffolding!

Unfortunately, the heavens opened up and we had torrential down pouring mid morning.  We actually had so much rain, that our supervisor, Jamie called it a day and sent us all home.  Talk about being disappointed!  We just drove 23 hours to work, and we only worked for 2 hours!!!  Well, what do you do when mother nature isn't in your corner...wouldn't you know it?  God is!  Our van has been making a terrible whirling sound and we thought that maybe a wheel bearing was going, so having a free afternoon turned out to be a blessing in that we could take it into the shop.  Turns out that it isn't a wheel bearing, but the tires on the front are cupped.  So new tires have been ordered, and we will be having them installed before we head home!  Thank goodness!

We did go to the outlet mall this afternoon too and did a little shopping - always a fun experience - and a great way to support the local economy!  We also took a drive out past our work site last year to see what the community looks like finished.  People have moved into the homes that we were helping build last year and it looked completely different from when we left here last year.  Pretty rewarding to see a community built by Habitat volunteers!

Tonight, we participated in a Memorial Service as today marks the 31st anniversary of Hurricane Camille.  We met up with Rev. Harold Roberts (Kelly Monkman's uncle) who gave us his story and account of Hurricane Katrina following the service.  It is 10 days shy of the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and it is amazing to me how many people are still so emotional when they tell us their story.  I can't imagine leaving your house in perfect condition when you are evacuated and returning a few hours later to absolutely nothing.  The ocean literally washed everything away! 

We visited the Hurricane Katrina Memorial and were hoping (odd, I know) that this year we would see the names of those who perished in Katrina posted on the wall, as the wall was intended when it was built by Extreme Home Makeover.  Unfortunately, those names have not yet been etched into the beautiful memorial.  Nevertheless, it was a very moving experience.  The wall of the memorial is as tall as the water line when Katrina hit. 

Today was a long day, and I was really hoping to post a picture of our house for you to see, but the pictures for today were taken on Doug's camera, which are really good, BUT we don't have a cable to get them onto the computer...so tomorrow we will use another camera that we can transfer pictures onto the computer.

Please pray for the rain to stop, so we can work tomorrow!!!


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