Today, Team Sustain worked with Greenlight New Orleans and traveled in groups to several households with the simple task of switching out regular lightbulbs with CFL bulbs which save money and energy. Workign with Greenlight differed from the other types of community service that we have done. We did not spend time outdoor, we did not get dirty and we had the opportunity and privilege of interacting with members of the New Orleans community in a significant way. The message of Greenlight is not only for people in need, but for all individuals to understand the impact that this will make. To this end we were given the opportunity to meet poeple who lived in both the 9th ward as well as middle class areas, showing us the diversity of the residents. Two of th women that my group met shared their stories and we were all amazing with the dedication that they had for their community and for their families. Maria, a pediatric oncology nurse, could not leave her young charges, even during the worst days of the storm and stayed in a hotel close by while on duty, as travel back and forth to her home was not an option.
Beverly’s story was very different. A resident of the 9th ward for over 35 years at the time of the storm, told that her house had been destroyed and rebuilt with the help of one of the organizations dedicated to this cause. Although she was one of the lucky ones who are fully rebuilt, it was clear how much she had lost during the storm. However, the pride she showed in her small home was apparent and she welcomed us in with open arms.
I’m so grateful that I was able to work with Greenlight because my groupand I finally had the ability to hear these amazing stories. Until today, Katrina had been a part of history we learned in school and now it is part of us.