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Archive for May, 2010

The time has come to move out of New England and into the Bayou. We are leaving Rhode Island on Wednesday and heading back to Maryland to unpack and unwind; in other words do a bunch of presentations and PT.

I have been dying to go to New Orleans for years so this is my dream location. We are getting thrown into the Cajun culture by living in the Upper Ninth Ward, walking distance from the French Quarter.

Tuesday will be our last day at 211 and honestly I’m not too upset about it. I will miss the incredible ladies we worked with, but the work became monotonous at the end. A person can only do so much filling, calling and note taking.

Right now I am ecstatic to head down to New Orleans and work in the sunny, humidity with Habitat for Humanity. It will be a fantastic change after working in an office for the entire month of April.  I am ready to be outdoors and get my hands dirty; no more going from cubicle to cubicle, cross your fingers!

I will miss our little neighborhood in Cumberland that grew to feel like home. As we drive off on Wednesday morning I will happily wave goodbye to our one-bedroom apartment, but not the cute building with the handy laundromat right underneath us.

It is amazing to look back at everything that has developed, relationship wise, and happened since we arrived in Cumberland on wet and dreary March 13. Starting with the Valley Falls Heritage Park was the perfect introduction to work and Cumberland. Within a whirlwind of two days we were thrown into the disaster work with United Way/211 and attached our roots for good.

The day we were called on disaster is one I will never forget. That week began with an o’dark thirty grocery store run in a downpour that didn’t stop for three days. After a day of work and volunteering at the soup kitchen we went to bed clueless to how drastically things would change. 

I remember working with that city workers back at the garage filling sandbags with everyone and watching the rain come down in sheets of water. As the morning rolled on people slowly began showing up requesting sandbags for their backyards and basements. Around noon we were called on disaster and that’s when the real work begun. I headed out to make house calls with sandbags for people around the city. After a ten-hour day Christian and I headed to 211 to do a graveyard shift answering the phones. Walking into the National Guard building, the temporary set-up for 211 because their building was flooded out, was spooky and stressful. All I can remember is phone ringing, people buzzing around in brightly colored vests and maps everywhere constantly changing with updates on people and places affected.

Thursday we were surprised by the 211 and United Way staff with a thank you party outside. As we were walking out the back door not knowing what was going on, a roar of applause and cheering echoed off the patio where Ice Cream and smiley faces were waiting.

Friday the Governor came to 211 to give out awards to all the organizations involved in the flooding recognizing them for all the hard work and support they provided to Rhode Islanders. We were recognized then walked him through our call back center and procedures.

Today we volunteered at the first annual Cherry Blossom run in Central Falls. The sun was glowing and I had a wonderful time, aside for the hour and a half of sleep I found last night. We had to stand guard at the cross streets and stop cars from flying out onto Broad street and crashing into the runners. Some local kids came out and I played soccer with them, then was swooped up by a cop car and rode in the back seat back to the start.

This is the last blog I will do from Rhode Island. The next time you hear from me I will be writing from Maryland. Ciao Rhode Island, hello deep South!!!!!!!!!!

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