Recently I happened to read a wonderful piece by Sonia Simone about poverty. ‘How to Get Delightfully Rich and still keep your soul’ opened my eyes and made me contemplate about poverty more deeply. It made me decide that through this blog I could create posts which is capable of initiating a positive change. I want to lead the path to begin a movement whereby we can make some small changes with our posts which could somebody lead to something big.
Before August 2005, I was not very bothered about the lives of my southern neighbors. However, something in me changed drastically when Katrina stuck this region on the day of my parents’ marriage anniversary. This really shook me from within and I wanted to do more than just to make a donation.
I had a few friends who were working for a group called Habitat for Humanity, at that point in time. It hadn’t yet been a week since the calamity struck that I heard that these folks were visiting the affected places, as a convoy of helpers. They had little idea of what to expect or what to do when they reach the place. However, one thing that was common in all of them was that they all wanted to help. Once they came back after their first stint, they told me about their experiences, which made a lot of impact on me. So, it was then that I too decided to hop on a plane and reach East Biloxi, to see if I could make a little difference.
It wasn’t till six months since the devastation that I reached the place. I had been coaxing myself throughout my journey on the plane, thinking that I should have visited this place earlier and that by then all the rehabilitation work must already be over. However, to my surprise East Biloxi still looked like a war torn town in an under developed country. Parts of the highways were missing, debris were still lying around the beaches and cemeteries were upended.
I stayed with 300 odd other people in a local church. The scenes were horrific and the lower middle class and poor population were in the worst conditions. These were the people who were struggling to meet ends meet even before Katrina hit the. Now they were without a home and with no jobs. For the first time in my life I lived way outside of my comfort zone, living for days in shoddy messy conditions. However, at the back of my mind I was comforted by the fact that I could just get on a plane and go back to the comforts of my home whenever I wanted to, which was not the case for the people who were affected by the tragedy.
My friends are still in Biloxi, helping out the people even three years after the event. More disasters have hit this region since. I try and visit the place, do my bit to help these people. Meanwhile I have decided to donate a dollar every time this article gets a comment. Help me help these people and make the world a better place to live in.