As I stood in the middle of a destroyed street at the heart of Common Ground, I stared at this woman, this mother, and could not stop myself from sadly keeping my eyes glued to her. Why? At that moment I felt so sad as my eyes welled up with tears as I watched her and then I became angry. Why? I ask myself that same question-why- but I ask it for different reasons than you may be thinking.
Let me tell you what I saw. A woman and a man with three children pulled up to their home on a corner lot- a shell of a home with no windows, no running water, no electricity, and who knows what furniture they had inside. The children ran into the yard, unphased, laughing and playing with each other. The adults hesitantly discussed something, then approached Malik. I wanted to know what they were talking about- and I got an answer. Malik obviously told them they could take a couple gallons of water. Water! My goodness. How can we let people live like this? How can we let such beautiful hopeful children continue to grow up in a home which is no longer theirs? This is when all of the emotions rushed through me- the tears, the anger, the shock. My focus was on that family and I still think about them. They don't know me but they have sure made a lasting impression on my life.
As I write this, I think about the next time I will go back. I wonder if I will see windows on their home. I hope that they won't have to ask for water, rather they will have running water in their home. The one thing I will surely see are those joyful children who still had a sparkle of happiness in their eyes. Sadly, I do know that if people in NOLA don't get real help soon, those children may become hardened by the world around them.
I hardly mean to sound hopeless about the situation. I merely mean to point out that help is needed. This is why I am a part of Touro's Student Hurricane Network. The harsh realities are sometimes ignored but for those who open their eyes----- they can do anything.