I have basically avoided writing about Katrina (aside from adding a button to be able to donate to the Red Cross). Everything has been said by now. That and the fact that I am just so overwhelmed by all of the devastation. Don’t expect any political posts, government rants or finger pointing here either. The basic fact is that we failed these people. Whether you love the current president or hate him. Whether you are liberal or conservative or even communinst for that matter, the bottom line is that not enough was done to help. Not sure you feel that way? Read this amazing nurse’s account of what she and her patients had to endure then come back and tell me that we as a nation were prepared for this.
But the thing is, I am not to a place where I feel qualified or informed enough to point fingers. Maybe it is because I am in a location where I am more removed from the politics and smack in the middle of the people effected. Here is Dallas, not a day goes by where you don’t see someone who is an evacuee. Go to any WalMart in the area and ask if anyone there needs help or aid. You WILL find someone. Reunion Arena is full. They have more donations than they know what to do with. It is wonderful to see the people in this city opening up their homes, their wallets and giving their time to help.
This weekend I was in WalMart and met a woman and her husband there with their infant daughter. There she stood in the infant area trying to get what she could of diapers and formula for her baby. As she talked about losing her house and everything in it, I have never felt more helpless. I just held her hand and cried. What could I possibly say to help her? Blame someone for her horrific situation? Tell her “At least you aren’t in the Astrodome or Reunion Arena!”? I don’t think any of that would make her feel better or help her. Yes, she is one of the more fortunate (although, “fortunate” is rather relative, isn’t it) families who have not had to live in a dome or arena. She has been able to find somewhere else to stay. When you meet these families face to face, when you go to the overflowing hospitals, when you go to the arena where the homeless are living, you get angry. You hurt. You feel so many things it would be impossible to find the right words to discuss it. But for now, it is about the people.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it is vital that we find out just how and where the failure occured so that we ensure this never, ever happens again. I am just not there yet.
I am going back to Houston tonight. I am going to visit my mom still in ICU. From what I hear, the ICU is filled to capacity there with victims of the hurricane. While I am in Houston, I hope I can go volunteer at the Astrodome. Seeing the numerous evacuees here in Dallas, I cannot even begin to fathom what it will be like in Houston. But this I do know, I can help. Somehow, someway.
If you have any information about where exactly to go to volunteer there, please let me know. If anyone needs any supplies or donations taken down there, let me know. It seems like so little, but right now, it is all I can do.