Editor's Note: Seven students from the University of Kansas chapter of Engineers Without Borders are spending their spring break in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward working with the group Historic Green to rebuild the area in a way that preserves its history while creating a sustainable future. Each day, one of the students is sending a recap of their journey. These are their stories.
After the craziness of the trip down and the "interesting" experiences we had to start the week, things settled down, and it's been an amazing time. There are two things that are sticking with us the longer we’re here: Food and the work. And both are quite satisfying.
The people here are all really nice. We've been working with the founders of Historic Green, professionals in various construction fields, and had a chance to talk with some of the locals. We've gone to a presentation of some sort almost every day to learn about different aspects of Katrina, Holy Cross (the neighborhood we're rebuilding), or rebuilding in general.
We eat breakfast at Camp Hope almost every day. We eat lunch at our volunteer headquarters, and for dinner, we either eat at Camp Hope or the French Quarter. We went to Cafe du Monde to get beignets. They were delicious!
The Salvation Army cooks and serves food at the Historic Green village for us every day. The food is awesome! Red beans and rice the first day; gumbo the second; and almost always sweet tea and cornbread!
The seven of us that came down to New Orleans are all working together on the same project. We are working in one house, mainly installing new insulation. We had to first clean the place up by cleaning off all the old mold infested cellulose insulation off the walls and clearing any junk sitting around the house.
It's been a lot of working, but we've made a lot of progress. All of the walls are clean, and most of the new insulation is up. We were originally planning on taking Thursday off for sightseeing, but we've now decided to work in the morning because we think we can get our portion of the house finished.
After working, we've all been having a lot of fun just exploring New Orleans. We've gone down to the French Quarter and Bourbon Street to look around, but we’ve spent most of our time working or at Camp Hope.
New Orleans is absolutely gorgeous and full of life. Downtown is always hopping with all different types of people: musicians, homeless, upper class, working class ... everyone. And everyone is doing their own thing, just working together.
Mary Adams; freshman; architectural engineering; Lawrence