Brett Dalrymple Alternative Spring Break 2019
Today we focused on disaster recovery by rebuilding houses damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The work we were doing is for families who could not afford to relocate and start a new life, but rather took the choice to remain in their homes and renovate them. The house we worked on today belonged to an someone who owned the house for over fifty years, which shed light on the predicaments those devastated by the storm are in.
They face the hardships of not being financially stable enough to move on or rebuild, and in some cases such as this one are too attached to their memories and life there that they are not willing to sell the house. This made me re-evaluate my understandings of relief efforts completely. People do not always have it as easy as we see in the news or on television. Most people have to wait years after the storm for help to even arrive.
Before I came on this trip, I never would have imagined that seven years after Sandy hit, an elderly man would only be receiving aid in rebuilding his home now. It made me think back to when I lived in Georgia, which although we moved before Sandy struck, was still hit extremely hard. Some places on the small island that I lived on were damaged for years afterwards. I completely forgot about it until I came down here and realized I could relate in some small way to these people. However, it also made me realize how ignorant we are as people, about what people go through in their lives until we step into their shoes.
While we are living comfortable lives in our homes that were not hit by Hurricane Sandy, people have been without homes for seven years. I think this project was extremely helpful to the people it touched, volunteers included. It gave the people whose homes we were rebuilding a place to live and find happiness, while shedding light on the problems others face to the volunteers. I personally feel that we as a whole country should do more to help people in these situations. I feel that people would be more less contentious to taxes going towards things such as storm relief. When a storm hits and devastates an area, it is an impact that hits everyone across the country either directly or indirectly.
Lives, jobs, businesses, politics, laws and countless other aspects change as a result of devastation like that of Sandy. I feel that mostly everybody would support projects such as this. The poor would support it because they need the aid. The rich would support it because they do not want to be living somewhere where there are destroyed houses and debris everywhere. However, tax payers may not be too inclined to pay for projects like this, especially if they are not likely to be hit by a hurricane or storm.
There is a valid argument that by choosing to purchase a house and reside in a high-risk area, you accept the risks and the consequences that come with it. Although this argument has points, it is reasoning like this that our country has so many issues. If people would wok together more to prevent disasters or repair after the devastation, people’s lives would be much more pleasant.
By coming on this trip, I was enlightened by the experience and knowledge I gained. I learned about the dilemmas that people face and the choices they are forced to make. If I could tell someone from Pace one thing from this trip that I think they could really benefit from is to never take the easy way out and always make sure the things you care about are cared for. This person loved his house, but because of the storm and the new building codes, he had to completely rebuild the home he had in his family for fifty years.