"So Much Worse Than I Could Have Imagined"

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Adam's Apple, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple

    Adam's Apple Senior Member

    Apr 25, 2004
    Thanks Received:
    Trophy Points:
    from a paid subscription site

    "So Much Worse than I Could Have Ever Imagined"
    by Steve Hinnefeld, Herald-Times
    December 28, 2005

    Indiana University students who went to Mississippi last week to clean up after Hurricane Katrina weren't sure there would be a lot left to do. As it turned out, there was more work than they could imagine getting done. They encountered scenes of overwhelming devastation: houses and businesses leveled and piles of debris cluttering beachfront lots.

    "It was so much worse than I could have ever imagined," said Bobby Jones, an IU senior from Mount Vernon. "It's still a tragic area. There's still debris all over the place. People are still displaced with nowhere to go."

    Almost 200 IU students made the service-learning trip, staying on the coast from Dec. 17 until Thursday. They slept in tents and spent days cleaning up refuse from residential areas in Pass Christian and Long Beach, two communities along U.S. 90 west of Gulfport.

    "All in all, we probably cleaned up 20 lots," said Sarah Cohen, an IU junior from Lexington, Miss. "Looking at the scope of everything, that's not very much." Students said it was rewarding when area residents said how much they appreciated the work they were doing. "You could tell how grateful they were," Cohen said.

    The work included separating debris and organizing it into piles, setting aside personal items that coastal residents might still want to reclaim. The students also cleaned up a cemetery where the storm had downed trees and smashed headstones.

    "We found a grand piano in the middle of the cemetery," Cohen said, adding that it apparently came from a nearby church. Another eerie find was an old scrapbook. "When we opened it up," Cohen said, "it was newspaper clippings basically telling the story of Hurricane Camille in 1969."

    Now some students are talking about returning for more relief work over spring break or next summer. "Honestly, we didn't make a dent in cleaning up that area," Jones said. "But 197 people are coming back from this trip, each with their own agenda to get things done down there. I think a lot of people look at it from that angle: We have a special opportunity to move things along and inspire people."

Share This Page