I try to understand:
Some of you already know that I live on the Gulf Coast. Last year I lived through a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan. This was my 4th hurricane I've been through. I've evacuated, I've stayed and road them out, neither one of those experiences were pleasurable. Evacuation is confusing, frightening, and extremely stressful. First and foremost when you return, you don't know what you are returning to. While you are evacuating, the traffic is horrendous, but: people on the road are like "neighbors". We form bonds at the hotels we stay at while we wait to return to our homes. The strangest thing I've ever seen when evacuating was the "reverse laning" on the interstates. Driving on the "wrong" side of the intersate was a weird feeling and it was an eerie feeling. While sitting and waiting for this big "monster" swirling toward your home, you can't keep your eyes off the TV. I think I stayed up all night as Ivan plowed ashore across my home area, watching as much TV as I could until it was too dangerous for the TV people to be out in the storm. Then you wake the next morning and flip on the TV just to "see" what happened after the "swirling monster" passed over. It's a fear in your gut you can't explain. Then while driving back to your home, you see all the big utility trucks, the National Guard vehicles, the Rescue vehicles carrying food and water rushing in the same direction you are. While returning from evacuating Ivan, we all had to re route because of the Interstate 10 bridge falling into the Escambia Bay. As we travelled along the highway, the closer we got to our home area, cities became ghost towns, electricity was obviously not working, trees were blown from their roots, closer and closer you see the devastation, and you can't help but stare and look at what this "freak of nature" has left in it's path. I remember having to go to the bathroom so badly (number 1) and I couldn't get into any store to use the bathroom because the cerfew was in place by the time I rolled into the area, I had to literally stop along side the highway and go before I soiled myself.
I saw first hand the devastation of Ivan. I was EXTREMELY blessed to have had minimal damage to my home and property, but, as I drove down into Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and saw buildings literally ripped in half, and what was left of our beautiful beach washed up across the road, I had to go back home. I couldn't stand to look at other people's losses.
Now with Katrina: I can't even explain how I feel for those people. Especially those in the Super Dome. I don't understand how all that could happen. I live in the country and we even had National Guard units in place the very next day checking ID's on our road, and we had a Rescue station nearby supplying our little area with MRI's and water! ONE DAY after Ivan had crossed over!
The pictures that flashed across my TV screen of that once beautiful city stirred up emotions in me that I couldn't understand.
For those of you who have ever been to the N.O. or Biloxi area, you know what it's going to take to rebuild the beauty of those two areas. The old Antebellum homes along hwy 90 in Biloxi are now just sticks. The elegant casino's are rubble. In New Orleans, one of the first areas that was settled in that area, Algiers, is devestated.
Both areas, Biloxi and N.O. are literally wiped out. I've smelled the smells, I've seen the pieces left behind, but this is the first time I've EVER seen such human suffering. You don't have to look at the destruction of the infrastructure, you can look into the eyes of those people to see the devastation.
But, you know, people are resiliant. We DO bounce back. We get torn down, and we come back stronger, and we ONLY do this because of those of you out there who pray for us, remember us and offer ANY sort of help. We DO come back! Our spirits are strong, though sometimes we need help from others to help us find that strength and use it to go on and survive. This board is doing just that. People WILL read it, it may take time, but they will know, and I believe in my heart that even though the suffering may not be able to read what we write here, they FEEL it, honestly.
Share your spirit.
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world"