Ten Brunswick students, along with three members of the faculty, have traveled to New Orleans, La., to spend the week working for the St. Bernard Project, a nationally recognized leader in disaster resilience and recovery founded following Hurricane Katrina in February 2006.
SBP has rebuilt homes for more than 950 families with the help of more than 100,000 volunteers in New Orleans, La; Joplin, Mo.; Staten Island, N.Y.; Rockaway, N.Y.; Monmouth/Ocean Counties, N.J.; San Marcos, Texas, and Columbia, S.C.
Here is an update from the “Katrina Krewe” after Day Three in New Orleans:
It was another early start for the Katrina Krewe today, but with the help of a hearty breakfast, we were on our way to 4515 Feliciana once again. We were all super excited to get to work, especially after learning all about the storm and its devastating effects yesterday.
Touring around the lower ninth ward really hit home, and, as a result, the boys were extremely motivated and dedicated to the work. We are finally beginning to see some real progress, and the frame of the house is really coming together.
When we first pulled up, however, there was a large group standing in front of our house! At first, we were surprised and slightly put off. The general consensus was that this was our place to build, and we felt territorial. (In the end, they worked on the outside of the house, so we were really fine with that).
Later in the day, we discussed these feelings and realized that they signified both good and bad responses. On the one hand, we were proud of the ownership we started to take in this project and how badly we wanted to affect personal change. At the same time, we realized that this was somewhat selfish, and that the more people volunteering the better. After all, we were lucky to have any job to do and would be grateful to do whatever our supervisors asked us to do.
We started out the work with a healthy amount of sanding for the mudding team, while the drywall team did their thing. Shortly thereafter, each group switched jobs and the “mudders” got the chance to “drywall” and vice versa. In this, the former dry wallers gained respect for the perseverance of the mudders, and, overall, our work today brought us even closer together. Throughout the day, the boys saw that we weren’t just screwing in nails or sanding corners, but striving to build a house for a family that would help to rebuild a wonderful community.
During our daily group reflection, we were all very proud of how hard we worked that day. There was no standing around, and everyone was looking for the next task whenever possible, which was aided by the strong group dynamic.
There’s no question that our respect for each other and this task has made the work go both better and faster. Despite the fact that many of us have been feeling that our work has “just a drop in the bucket,” senior Will Jeffery pointed out, “It may just be one drop for the city, but what we’re doing will fill a whole bucket for a family someday.”