I went back to my hometown today. We still don't have lights but I can't complain. My husband and I drove around our small town. I couldn't help but cry. We are a town of 12000. I don't even know where to begin. We have a lot of woods in our area and jogging trails that wind through them. But they have the cadaver dogs out searching for victims. They are looking in the trees because they believe a 30 foot wall water came on shore. In those waters were people. And in some places where there were homes, all that is there is the foundation. Or maybe their homes are there...1/2 a foot to the left or right of the foundation. There are TVs, baby clothes, dressers, refrigerators in the woods, the parks and in the middle of the street. We had a wholesale fishing market street....just empty land now.
But for everyone...just imagine everyone in your neighborhood taking everything, and I mean everything, out of their house and putting it on the curb. Rugs, sheet rock, insulation, furniture, clothes, baby strollers. food, toys, pictures, just everything and putting it on the curb. It piles up about 10 feet and spans the length of your yard. Now imagine everyone in the neighborhood does this. There is no electricity, mosquitos are everywhere and you have nothing to drink or eat. You wanna stay to keep cleaning but you can't stay in your home. And you are limited on gas. Sure you can get a "snack pack" from FEMA but you have kids and that is not enough. If you are fortunate your job lets you take care of things. If you are not, you have to get to work or worse, your employer no longer exists because it was wiped out by the storm.
Kids start school on Tuesday in a building that has no AC and you don't have any AC either. For me, that means 75 miles one way to get her to school. I may have to enroll her into a school in Spring. She is worried about her friends and just wants to see familiar faces. She remembers how everyone ahhed and ooohed the Katrina evacuees that enrolled in her school and she doesn't want that kind of attention.
No picture on TV or story can even begin to touch the reality of actually being out there. I was blessed with just a few shingles gone...I am in awe of the difference of my house and almost everyone around me. I can't wait to get back and just help out my neighbors. We are going this weekend and help anyone we can.