We were at Houston Hobby Airport on Saturday, checking in for our flight home. The group was split into two, with a few people in between us. All of our team was wearing either their team t-shirt or sweatshirts, it was apparent we were together. As we stood in line, one of the people in the group between us asked "So where are you going?" It was explained to the gentleman that we had been working in Galveston all week doing Hurricane Ike rebuilding and that we were heading home to California. To which the gentleman replied "Well, you're a little late. You should have been here two years ago." The group leader went on to explain that the group had been helping out the previous two years. I don't remember much of the conversation after that.
That bit of conversation has stuck in my head for the last couple of days. It's made my brain itch a little. It symbolizes an attitude that pretty much pisses me off. That attitude that says if you haven't gotten things together within a year after a disaster, then you aren't working hard enough, doing enough, trying and should just be written off. There's a self-centeredness there too...if it's not affecting me directly, then the crisis must be over. I can't stand that attitude and yet I resemble that to a certain extent. I tend to forget about things that aren't in my face all the time. It's not to be mean or hard-hearted, it just happens. I tend to focus on what I can see, touch, feel, smell and hear and forget about the other stuff.
If that gentleman had been with us, he would have found out that the work was far from done. In the office of the organization we worked for, there were whiteboards on every wall with names of people and the needs for their homes. One of the homeowners, Miss Rita, shared that her 82 year old mother was still waiting for her house to be rebuilt. We passed plenty of homes that have yet to be touched...the need is still there. It's just not as "in your face" as it once was.
No, sir, the work is not done. There is plenty left to do...the question is are there still people willing to do it? Or have we all moved on?