Monday, June 26, 2006

De Ridder Louisiana 2006 Part 1

Hello, Wandering Old Dave here,
I have been home for awhile so it's time to start sending out reports about what's been happening the the life and times of Old Dave. I have some catching up to do and want to start with the trip to Louisiana.

This is a team picture of the group that went to Louisiana this time. The two people that I'm standing beside are the founders and chief leaders of Rapid Response the organization I'm under when I go on these trips. Ken and Joni have been to just about every disaster starting with 911. They have been to the tsunami in Sri Lanka and the earth quake in Pakistan. They go more to the international disasters. This was about 6:30 AM and we all were excited to be leaving once again to work disaster relief.

This is a nice park we stopped at to have a lunch of sandwiches and fruit. Once again the food on this trip was excellent. We had Louisana hospitality to the max. For breakfast each morning people would bring home made biscuits and jam, pigs in a blanket, and boxes of donuts. Like I really need donuts. I already carry about a 30 pound donut around my middle. I sure didn't want to offend anyone so I did the best I could to stay fed well. I like to think I was keeping up my strength for the hard work at hand. However the scale sure didn't think so when I returned home. We stayed over night in Texarkana. There was a Huddle House across the street from the Motel which is good in a pinch when there isn't a real Waffle House around, but I didn't go there because the Motel had an excellent breakfast with make your own waffles. However I did get in quite a lengthy morning walk as is my custom on these trips. I just couldn't help myself when I walked up on a young man and woman struggling to unload a sofa. It's just in my blood to help people move stuff. I had to offer to help and they graciously excepted the offer. So miles away from Omaha, I can still find a sofa to move before breakfast. I little farther down the road people were packing up a truck and looked like they were seriously moving an entire household of furniture, but (sigh) I just didn't have the time to vounteer to help with that one. It did look pretty interesting though.

We only missed a couple turns on the way to De Ridder which turned out to be more an adventure then irratation. At least for me it was, but then everything for me is an adventure. We chugged in to home away from home Sunday afternoon. Our accommodations were in a real live FEMA trailer. My space consisted of a six foot bed placed along one side of the trailer. It was about 2 to 3 foot wide and had head space of about the same while laying down. Half of the bed space was tucked behind a bathroom wall so when I crawled into the space all that was seen was the bottom part of my legs.

The bathroom was about as big a postage stamp. Maybe the stamp was bigger. To squirt yourself off in the shower I had this sensation to keep ducking because the ceiling was about 6 foot and again about 2 to 3 foot wide. There was no turning about in the shower and if you tried it just caused a person to stumble around and make quite a racket which entertained others in the trailer. One other member on our team took the fold down sofa and our team leaders got the dinky bedroom. Are you getting the picture that this was a small trailer. I always thought that a FEMA trailer was like a trailer house. Not so. A FEMA trailer is a plastic toy looking tow behind your car travel trailer. It's been said in Louisiana you don't want follow to close to FEMA when they're towing a trailer somewhere in order to avoid the plastic parts that flying off while in route. I imagine we are probably the only Nebraskans that got the full body experience of living in a FEMA trailer. I just can't imagine anyone with a family living in such cramped spaces for months.

The house we worked on the second trip to Louisiana has been completed. This is a picture of the house. The inside has panelling on the walls and beautiful ceiling titles for the ceiling. It turned out excellent in every way. Those that finished up the house did an awesome job for sure.

This is the Pastor's house that we worked on this time. It was about 3,000 square feet I think with a magnificent set of double doors for the main entrance and 20 foot high ceiling in the entry way and a vaulted cathedral ceiling in the living room. More about that later. A fireplace against the back wall with tons of windows gave a view of the woods in the back of the house. Such a joy it was to see this house going up. The inside of the house had framed walls and a pile of dry wall when we arrived. Our task was to get as much done as we could in five days. The Pastor said that he would be real happy if we got the upstairs finished in our time there. Little did he know what lay ahead.

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