The past few days have been a test to a lot of my emotions and thoughts. Yesterday we briefly visited New Orleans and today we toured where we will be working (tomorrow!). The devastation that still exists in both places is shocking. I do not have words for much of what I was feeling and struggling with.
It is shocking--despite knowing that the reason we are here is because the work has yet to be finished--exactly how much there is still to do. Even more shocking, disgusting, unnerving, is seeing the disparities between the haves and the have-nots. It is clear where the money goes--to those who already have it and can access resources to get it.
Something that I do not really know how to feel about is the issue of the casinos here in Biloxi. I don't understand how $550 million can be spent to refurbish a casino when its shadow is cast upon homes that have yet to see any real help. I don't get it, as I have said to many of you already. While it is probably true that the rebuilding and the operations of the casinos have brought money back into the community--are those that truly need that money receiving any of its benefits? This "trickle-down" approach that our country depends so much upon does not seem to benefit those who need the most help.
Is it wrong of me to question why our country is not doing more to help its own people? Or to be confused? Angry?
In reference to the title of this entry, I have decided to introduce myself as "Kate" while I am here in the Gulf. This decision was not come to lightly. Prior to arriving here, I thought a lot about my name and the reactions I may get. However, I don't think that I prepared myself at all for the reality. In 2 days I have had 4 (very) negative reactions to the fact that I was choosing to stick with "Katrina." It came down to how I can best serve this community (which is what I am here for!). I feel like taking that first barrier away will make things much easier. .....Let's hope I can remember to answer to it!
I am excited to begin work tomorrow and celebrate my birthday at the same time. This is the begining of a life-changing year. I can feel it in my bones!