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Yes, I Am Alive and … September 28, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Bound, Hurricanes, Relief Work.
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Americorp volunteers after a long day of gutting.

Americorp volunteers after a long day of gutting.

 

 

Yes, I am alive and kicking. Well, maybe not kicking, but alive. I arrived on the Bayou 11 days ago. I think it was 11 days ago. It feels like 11 weeks ago, so I can’t be too sure. I wish that I could provide a synopsis of the last week and a half, but I don’t think that’s possible. It would be easier to tell you what I haven’t done, than tell you what I have done. At this point, I can only tell you of a few of the tasks that I have completed since many of my activities are just a blur. A few of these tasks have included unloading hundreds of boxes of supplies, assisting in the preparation of thousands of Red Cross meals, delivering dozens of truckloads of food, diapers, formula, medical supplies, cleaning kits, and clothing, coordinating hundreds of work orders and several volunteer teams to tarp roofs and gut homes, trucking tools and supplies to the teams, and, well, a hundred other things that I just can’t even recall anymore.

 

 

  

My brain and body are completely fried and I’m running on fumes. Thought I might be able to take a day, or even a half a day for myself today to get some laundry done, clean up and organize my new home on wheels, and get some other sundry personal items taken care of since my Americorp team is taking the day off, but I guess there’s no rest for the weary. We’ve got a bunch of folks coming in to help people with their FEMA registrations, and apparently I’m supposed to take some of them out on a work site.

I’ve wanted to get some information up on this site, but I have had very limited Internet access, and probably will continue to have limited access for the near future. So, I’m so sorry this is such a short post in comparison to everything that I want to tell you about, but it’s the best I can do with the 15 minutes I can spare at the moment. Please, please, please stay tuned as I have so much to share once I can get in to a routine and secure more consistent Internet access.

I’ve barely had time to take photos, but you can see a few that I’ve been able to snap here 

Sorry the formatting on this post is messed up, but no time to figure it out. Anything incoherent, just chalk up to sleep deprivation.

Bayou Bound: Delayed But Not Deterred September 2, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Bound, Hurricanes.
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Many thanks for all the phone calls and emails enquiring about conditions and needs in Terrebonne Parrish. I don’t have a ton of information to pass along at this point as initial damage assessment is slow going due to numerous downed trees and power lines. Many areas in Terrebonne have limited access even on good days so the full picture is going to take a while to develop. So far I’ve heard of a lot of wind damage, but haven’t heard news of the wide spread flooding that we feared. According to the Houma Courier, Point-aux-Chenes and Isle de Jean Charles does appear to have had some flooding, but specifics are rather limited.

The Bayou Grace team is safe and working to figure out next steps as information begins to come in.

At this point, it appears that residents will not be allowed back in until at least Friday. I hope to arrive some time next week. Stay tuned.

Link to The Courier: http://www.houmatoday.com/

Go Away Gustav! August 28, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Bound, Hurricanes.
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So I haven’t been posting a whole lot recently. Mainly because not a whole lot has been going on with me. I’ve just been thoroughly enjoying my time with family and hanging out on Gun Lake.

I had kind of thought that my next post would be about the countdown to my arrival in the bayous of Terrebonne Parrish, Louisiana and how excited I am to start this new chapter of my life. But that countdown is a bit up in the air at the moment. I had planned on leaving the Great Lakes state on Wednesday and arriving in Chauvin on Thursday. But it looks like Gustav has other ideas for me.

Right now, Gustav is about 80 miles east of Kingston, Jamaica and beginning to strengthen. It’s projected to pass east or south of Jamaica today and then turn back to the west. It’s forecasted to enter the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend and continue tracking north or northwest. Most forecasts are suggesting Gustav has a strong possibility of becoming a Category 3 hurricane as it enters the Gulf, with the potential to develop in to a Category 4 or 5. So at this point, I’ve never wanted a weather forecast to be so wrong in all my life. A storm like this could be utterly devastating to the Gulf Coast. So folks, let’s channel all our positive energy to knock Gustav off the radar.

The good folks at Bayou Grace will be spending today getting the office and tool shed and the families and students they serve prepared and ready for evacuation. And then close the office starting tomorrow so they can get themselves and their families prepared and off to safe locations.

As many of you know, last March I joined 70+ volunteers from the Detroit Presbytery on their sixth Hurricane Katrina relief mission trip to the Gulf Coast. I was quite excited when I received an email the other day announcing the seventh trip (back to Pearlington, MS) set for the last week in October and the first week in November. Let’s just pray that Katrina 7 doesn’t become Gustav 1.

Bayou Bound! June 23, 2008

Posted by dianehuhn in Bayou Bound.
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My first blog! I created the account for this site a number of weeks ago, but was waiting for the first tangible action in the next chapter of my life. Well, it’s official. I submitted my resignation last week. So come July 11th, I will be officially unemployed. But come September, I will be embarking on a new journey as I head to Chauvin, Louisiana to complete a year of service work with Bayou Grace Community Services (http://bayougrace.org/).

Excitement doesn’t even come close to describing my anticipation for this experience. As many who are reading this probably know, I spent a week in Terrebonne Parish, LA in March of this year with an amazing group of people from various churches within the Detroit Presbytery. For those of you who don’t know, this 70+ member group spent the week volunteering at ten different work sites rebuilding and repairing homes damaged during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. My sister Sue and I were in charge of documenting the activities of the group. What an awesome experience! I met the most wonderful people and saw firsthand what great things can be accomplished when people dedicate a little time and sweat to a good cause. You can check out the website we put together during our mission trip at http://katrina6.joyfullyserving.com/

When I returned to New York, I couldn’t shake this feeling that I had to go back. Was it some kind of mid-life crisis? Very possible, I don’t know. But after some soul searching, I decided I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I just knew that I didn’t want to wake up 2o years from now and think “Geez, I should have done more.”

So, long story short (for now), I’ll be off to the Bayou. In the short term, I’ll be heading home to Mom’s for the 4th of July (the greatest holiday ever!), then heading back to New York to clear out the house, and then back to Michigan for a few weeks of R&R on Gun Lake. Then I’ll be packing up the car for the 1100 mile journey to Chauvin.

So please stay tuned as I can’t wait to share my adventures with you!