Sunday, June 25, 2006

the team and the unbelievable pile of stuff we pulled out of that house Posted by Picasa

sugar spice and everything nice...well i guss Posted by Picasa

thank god for the ice cream man!! Posted by Picasa

charles the wheelbarrow man Posted by Picasa

France. Nawlins. America Posted by Picasa

going out to distribute food to the homeless. we had some amazing conversations with the homeless people. talked to this guy who used to be in the olympic velodrome team for barbados. now he's a drunk who roams the streets of new orleans drinking to forget the old days

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check it out the macdonald's here pays 9.75 an hour, thats how desperate they are for workers. shoulda done work n travel here/ the food's better too
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gabe and charles helping to make the sidewalk look like sidewalk again
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come on jenny you can do it
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Its odd but the only people helping out and building homes here are volunteers. Number of government officials we saw helping with the rebuilding? ZERO
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always time for a picture Posted by Picasa

jambalaya porkfish pie

New Orleans. What an experience. This has been a trip that I will never ever forget. The things I've seen, the people I've met, I'll probably remember for the rest of my life.

This was the scene on Nawlins highways in the middle of the afternoon when we got there. The first thing you notice aside from the damage is the fact that this place is a relative ghost town. There's nobody here. All those reports about New Orleans already coming back to normal are all lies.

When we got there the volunteer centre was almost deserted because most of the group's go back on Sunday but still the remaining staff were holding a service for themselves. That was like a movie moment. Deserted streets and a lonely parish.

Thats the inside of the volunteer centre. Honestly I was wasn't sure if we were supposed to be the relief or the refugees

Our very first look at the damage had me speechless. Its been 9 months and the place looks like Katrina happened the day before yesterday!! So many houses had just about all of their owner's possessions still inside rotting away. Thank goodness most of the time the owner's themselves weren't inside as well.

So thats what a big proportion of the people still living in New Orleans stay in now. Tiny trailers given to them by FEMA that they've been living in for the past 9 months. Right in front of the houses they used to live in. FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Managment Agency and its the butt of just about every New Orleaner's jokes right now.

The very first house we got to gutting. That means we had to demolish the walls to get to the rotting insulation and drywall inside. That plus taking anything else inside the house out to be carted away to the dump. Precious little could be saved because most of the house was under 14ft of water for 2 months!! And that water was toxic as hell! It was just plain unreal having to cart a person's entire life out and dump it onto the pavement. The owner of the house was standing right there watching us and there was a sadness around him that none of us could do anything to absolve. His family and him had been living in that house and the one next to it for the better part of 60 years. There were books in there dating to 1931. There was a collection of Mardi Gras coins from 1960.

Closets full of clothes, grand bedrooms with rotting mattresses, vintage signs, wedding photos of children, a pool table with the stories of loads of kids according to Julius the owner's wife at least.

Ok I'm getting really tired and I'm running out of time so I'll just let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Monday, June 19, 2006

the big easy

You can see the effects of Katrina everywhere here. Everywhere. You'd have an easier time finding a needle in a haystack than finding a telephone pole that isn't crooked. Turn 360 degrees and you'll see destruction every second of the way. Whole lines of trees and signs literally snapped in half like so many matchsticks; houses missing roofs or entire sides; buildings with miscellaneous debris flung into their sides. The scale of the destruction is just unbelievable. But that isn't the scariest bit. That hpnour is reserved for the fact that this place is almost totally deserted. It's almost totally devoid of human life. The highways are empty and the streets have nobody on them.

There's nobody trying to rebuild their lives except for a few hardy individuals and evn then they're living in tiny trailers parked outside what used to be their homes. Even the place we're staying at right now is a gutted building that used to be some sort of plaza. You can see the line where the water used to be and its hard to imagine this place was once waist deep in water. According to the people here, the water was so toxic if you put your bare hands into them they'd come out bleached.

The second we entered the city, the entire bus was simnply shocked into silence. There is a gloom in New Orleans thats simply pervades everything. I'm not sure what the city was like before but I'm pretty darend sure it wasn't anything like this. Hard to believe this once was, or supposedly still is, a hustling bustling city. Driving through the suburbs actually reminded me of driving through Malaysia, except with fewer people and far far more damage. Its hard to put into words what it looks like. All I can say is that what they show on tv and in the newsies just doesn't do justice. The sight of workers trying to repair a gaping hole in the Superdome is made even more humbling when you realise that that hole was punched through several layers of solid metal and who knows what else, by nothing more than wind and rain, and of course any available debris.

I was finishing up Job when we first entered the city and thats when this guy Elihu was describing the sheer power of God and asking Job if he thought himself worthy of challending Him. Couldn't help but feel exactly that when we were driving in. Unworthy of challening Him I mean.

Its so hard to believe its been almost a year since Katrina. This place looks like it happened the day before yesterday. They're spending hundreds of millions of dollars on bullets and bombs for Iraq and leave the work of restoring New Orleans to whoever can be bothered. Most of the people who used to live here are probably not going to be coming back.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

thar she blows

So tomorrow I'll be heading down to New Orleans to help victims of a hurricane that happened 9 months ago. Now here's the best part. Hurricane seasons' started again and tropical storm Alberta just touched down in Tampa, Florida.

Good stuff.

Friday, June 16, 2006

when it all goes wrong again

Somebody somewhere is mocking me. So many things seem to keep going wrong for me. I get here and my cell phone conks out for no reason whatsoever in the space of 5 minutes and I have no contact with anybody back home. I buy a prepaid line and for some reason the phone can't be activated and I've yet to find the time during office hours to call T-Mobile. I buy tickets for a concert from Ticketmaster and somehow these American idiots manage to muck it up so bad I have to spend 4 days putting the situation right. I get put in a game and get shot in the face by two white arses on my first day and then get stuck in there for the rest of the week. And now my ipod disappears inexplicably and I don't even know if I lost it myself or somebody came and stole it from the apartment.

Anybody wants me to give them 4D numbers?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

go go czechsters!!

Everyday I spend at Cedar Point makes me feel more and more like just upping and leaving and heading back home. It seems that now a games host has to endure not just verbal and emotional abuse all day but physical abuse as well. Gunball was the name today and knocking cups down with a nerf ball airgun was game. What I totally didn't expect was for this bunch of white dudes come up to my game, pay the $2 each to play, wait for me to load the guns.....and then turn them on me and shoot me right in the face with both guns at the same time. I'm just lucky they were just rubber nerf balls. I let two hokkien vulgarities come out of my mouth before cutting myself off and calling for the cops. But the frikkin mickey mouse police that patrol Cedar Point didn't manage to do anything. Duh....

I need a baseball bat and a room full of glass

Monday, June 12, 2006

uncle sam

These Americans sing God bless America and don't even know their own national team is playing one of the best teams in the world tomorrow. Make that don't even care.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

argh its everywhere!!!!! Posted by Picasa

check it out!! niagara the toilet flush Posted by Picasa

they're cool Posted by Picasa

hard rock niagara!! Posted by Picasa

i wish i could be that calm Posted by Picasa

something so powerful bears a sign of peace Posted by Picasa

yeah we kinda lost mother duck Posted by Picasa

tell me thats not awesome Posted by Picasa

cave of the winds actually brings you all the way DIRECTLY under the falls!! Posted by Picasa

yay i'm a tourist!! Posted by Picasa

when you're cheapskate, bring your own food and have a picnic Posted by Picasa