I spent part of spring break doing Ike relief work in Galveston. To those of you who donated funds to Rice’s CIC and to my trip, I’d like to thank you again! I had a really amazing experience, both in service and in teamwork. In this and the next several posts are excerpts from my notes during the week; as usual, I’m trying not to mention too many names for privacy reasons. Oh, and apologies for the lack of style. Most of this was written in the evening just before I passed out. It’s also interesting trying to choose which thoughts to publish – I had many. But you want a story.
Friday, 27 February 2009
Here at Alamo Elementary on Galveston, an unused school turned volunteer center for Good News Galveston. Apparently it hasn’t been used for three years, so they’ve put it to use. Definitely a better situation than in New Orleans, with more space, lots of hot water, electricity and even some computer access. And washers and dryers! I think they said about 1400 volunteers have come through this center so far, with another 1800 to come over the spring break period.
We drove onto the island in the dark, so it’s hard to tell the extent of the damage (plus we’re pretty close to the freeway, while the more damaged areas are probably further away from it). There are signs and fences down, and some retailers closed or announcing “Just Reopened!”, but that’s all we could really see in the brief five-minute drive to the school.
One thing they did tell us at our arrival orientation was to avoid injury. UTMB, which provides the main hospital service for the island, is severely damaged, and purportedly the only thing they are doing is delivering babies. Going to the emergency room basically involves going to Clear Lake.
All that aside, this will be a really great change of pace – just time to get sweaty, chill out, and do some reading.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength …” – Isaiah 40:30-31a
On the reading list – Francis Collins’ The Language of God