Over the October half term Agatha, Ruby-June, Solenn and Kristal were part of a group of eight students from various Ursuline Schools who went to New Orleans to work alongside the Ursuline Sisters from the USA and rebuild houses for those still affected by Hurricane Katrina.
While in New Orleans we worked with the SBP – an organisation which works across the USA to enable people to recover from natural disasters through rebuilding their houses. As students we were asked to become ambassadors for the charity and promote their work. While there we worked on Ms. Rosemary Cole’s house, in the lower ninth ward. She came to greet us on our first day and we were stuck by her gratitude, even after she had lost so much.
Over the week we did a variety jobs from painting outside and inside the house, measuring, cutting and nailing in baseboard and even laying flooring. We learnt as a team how to do these jobs and it really built our team work skills and made the group stronger. We couldn’t have achieved so much without each other. We didn’t only learn new skills, we were also struck by the selflessness of the volunteers as well as the togetherness of the community who were all so grateful for the work we were doing, even if they didn’t know whose house it was. We also got the chance to experience some of the culture of New Orleans going to a plantation, a swamp tour, exploring the French quarter, enjoying some typical New Orleans cuisine and even having a night of Jazz music at Preservation hall. At the swap we had the opportunity to hold Douglas the alligator which was amazing!
We were really surprised by how much work there is still to be done in New Orleans 12 years later and how much support the community still need. Please have a look at the SBP website for more information about their work http://sbpusa.org/.
Overall it was an incredible experience that we will never forget. We are so grateful to Sr Kathleen, Hannah, Cleo, Sr Regina and to all those who supported us in New Orleans for this amazing opportunity.