Cariel Clarke Alternative Spring Break Reflection Day 2
Today was a very insightful day. I learned a great amount of information about life during and after Hurricane Sandy. I was really touched by Ms. Newman’s story. She detailed her life after Sandy hit and not being able to really assess the damage to her house until about 6 months after the disaster. Ms. Newman also recounted the time when her supervisor allowed her to sleep in her office at her workplace. She was able to stay there with her dog. Ms. Newman expressed how she greatly appreciated our efforts in rebuilding her house.
Community member Dan Guarino also had an enlightening story about his experience dealing with Hurricane Sandy. He remembered the time when he was stuck on the 2nd floor of his home and went without heat, service, or contact with people for about 8 months. He also mentioned that the mindsets of people living in New York City changed because of Hurricane Sandy. Community members now take hurricanes and other natural disasters seriously. Dan mentions that people within his community were not very concerned about Hurricane Sandy because in the year before, Hurricane Irene was hyped up to be a very catastrophic event but when it came down to it, Irene barely caused any damage. Ms. Newman talked about a similar way of thinking amongst her neighbors as well.
I had various tasks for the day. I helped clean out buckets that will be used for paint and other types of material. I returned tools to toolkits and handed out materials to other volunteer workers. I also helped mix texturizer. I learned that this texturizer would be used to cover up the ceiling where there are small imperfections.
My actions today are benefitting Ms. Newman and her two adult daughters. These women will be able to call this house a home again because of the actions of me and my fellow group members.
Race and class are social ideas that impact a community. In relation to Hurricane Sandy, many homeless people suffered tremendously after the hurricane. Shelters were beginning to fill up quickly and some people were left without help. We also learned that families need to meet certain qualifications for their home to be rebuilt. This is one example expressing how class affected families in the years after Hurricane Sandy.
Before ASB I understood how the physical destruction impacted Hurricane Sandy victims. Today I became aware and realized that there were also emotional factors that developed because of the damage. And even today, about 5 years after Sandy, people are still coping with the events that occurred. Some victims have dealt with not only losing the physical structure of their homes but also the social and emotional structure. For some, they had to leave behind memories and uproot themselves from a community that was home for them for many many years and I think that is most devastating.
What I enjoy most about a trip like Alternative Spring Break is the fact that the efforts that I put in for a couple of days will serve a long-term impact. Five years from now, my accomplishments in the Newman house will remain. It will be an everlasting memory of the work I put in to help a family feel whole again. Learning about the lives of those affected makes the trip and our service more real.