Tuesday, July 15, 2008

piggtailz and other s.o.s.sy stories

i acquired this nickname on the 2nd day of s.o.s. and was quickly informed that i should not misspell it as "pigtails". now most of the participants on my team and a handful of others identify me by my frequent hair-do. other team nicknames include:

bubblez - briel, creator of my nickname
sockz - shelly, fully of sass and class
pantz - eric, whose trousers sag like...fill in the blank

our first project is at the animal rescue of new orleans (arno), a no-kill shelter established in 2006 for cats and dogs. for any interested persons, they do ship animals all over the country for the cost of transportation. all animals are current on vaccinations and spayed/neutered. my current favorites are three labrador puppies, a beagle pup, a siberian husky, three caramel-and-chocolate-swirl kittens, and a charcoal grey cat. overall, the team seems to enjoy working there up until lunch time. realizing they will be there until dinner, the negotiations for an early dismissal begin:

"m'girl. m'girl. look. we pet the cats. we walked the dogs. we picked up the poop. we cleaned their cages. now it is hot out here!"

word is:

- i should sing more often and my song is rihanna's "take a bow".
- i've got dancing potential, but my pop-lock-and-drop needs work.

working a 93-hour week didn't leave a lot of spare time, but i'm determined. despite fatigue and frustration, i am loving the summer of service program. it is a privilege to be actively involved in so many firsts (e.g. camping), fear facing (e.g. walking large dogs), and articulating shared experiences (e.g. how cold it was to walk through the flood water after katrina).

being geographically and emotionally uninvolved in hurricane katrina, i never fully registered the impact it had on certain communities in our nation. even working for two months in new orleans last round only gave me small glimpses of it.

last sunday, we did a talent showcase and bubblez asked me to read a poem that she wrote on our first day of journal reflections. it was called "she's gone" and touched on her memories of the storm and her feelings about rebuilding in new orleans. most of the participants were 10 or 11 when katrina hit and all - or nearly all - were living in areas hit hard by the storm. i was struck by the silence that filled the room as i read lines about people on roofs, crying mothers, and the superdome. i felt like an imposter in a room of experience-driven solidarity.

as an s.o.s. crew leader, i have been issued a government cell phone, affectionately known as "my govy". i can't always talk, but i do have it on my person 24-7. the number is 601.874.0182. i cannot send/receive text messages.


a.k.a. Suga Jones said...

YAY! I was waiting for a new post from you.

I am glad to hear that things are keeping you busy but I miss the regular updates on your adventures. How are the campers? Any major drama or is everyone just chillin?

LizzyLou said...

chris - so fun to hear about your adventures. i can't believe how hard you are working and hope you can take a deep breath at the end of these next few weekes. always amazed by your seemingly endless supply of love and energy. :)