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I must admit, my eyes, too, have grown tired—tired of seeing people in
despair and recognizing that there is only so much that outsiders can do. We can
give emotional support, we can offer money, we can even provide physical
resources, but in the end, it is up to the residents to rebuild their
communities, to restore balance, to regain control, to reestablish routines, to
renew their compassion, and to recreate places to rest their eyes. What those of
us on the outside have to recognize, however, is that this region is a long way
from rebuilding and an even longer way from routine.
It's a full month after Katrina and only an estimated 20% of the debris
created by the storm in Mississippi has been removed. Reconstruction can't begin
until much more is torn down and hauled away. And because residents of the
region were displaced throughout the country, many have not yet even seen what
is left of their homes and communities. Unless you own property, you are not
allowed through the military checkpoints set up along the railroad tracks that
run from one side of the state to another ¼ mile north of the beach. Rolls of
barbed wire stretched along the tracks create an unwelcome barrier to the once
tourist-friendly Gulf Coast. Very little is as it was before the storm and it
will be a very long time before life becomes routine again.
The Gulf Coast UU congregation is working hard to hold on to their plans to
build their own building and someday, to hire a full-time minister. They are
holding out hope that this tragedy will afford them an opportunity to spread
liberal religious values and offer an alternative to the religious
fundamentalism that permeates the Gulf Coast region. I share that hope, for the
need to find a place to be in community and rest our eyes calls out to us
In faith, Annette Marquis
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, August 2, 2012.
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