Habitat for Humanity: Trip of a lifetime

By Kasey Minnick
January 31, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

Many people in this world take things for granted in their lives and have no idea how lucky they are compared to those without anything. I was classified as one of those people who didn’t know how good I had it until I traveled with five other students from Cabrini College to New Orleans, La. to help rebuild houses with Habitat for Humanity and Americorps.

I can explain how we arrived at Camp Hope, a volunteer base camp, and were shown our small quarters to sleep in with 25 or more cots, the freezing showers we had until the day the mobile, warm showers pulled up and we felt like we all had won the lottery. But this writing shouldn’t be about my hardships; this is about the victim’s sufferings and how more than two years later life isn’t easier for them, but they put a smile on their faces and stay strong.

The eerie 9th Ward in New Orleans still looks to be a ghost town and the feeling I received while traveling though the area was, “Why would people keep coming back to this when there is always a threat of devastation?” The truth that I later realized is that these natives have their roots here; they aged with the house, their neighbors, their community and they can’t just give-up. What kills me is that these people who desperately want to get back to their old lives and out of the government FEMA trailers can’t because there aren’t enough volunteers to go around or funding to get done what us students did to Miss Edna’s house.

Yes, part of that problem is our governments fault, but other blame goes to individuals with their heads in the clouds who believe that since the dilemma is not being broadcasted on television, everything is “fine and dandy.” If circumstances in the South are moving in an optimistic direction, then why are those same Cabrini students and I returning during our spring break? There is only so much the Cabrini community can do together, so that’s why others need to open their eyes to these perspective pieces on the damage still remaining.

For those that think we will be the people to pick up your slack, think again. While you are sipping your drink on some beach somewhere during your break, we will be in the company of grateful people and WE will be making the difference.

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Kasey Minnick

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