“It is difficult to wake up someone who is sleeping.” Ghanaian proverb for February 26.
It is hard to shake off the doldrums that Hattiesburg seems to be in since the tornado. For one thing it is has been raining for the majority of days since the storm struck on February 10th. It is still the main topic of conversation whenever we meet anyone. The reminders are there as you can’t drive anywhere without seeing damaged homes buildings. Or feel the openness caused by the loss of trees.
For the first two weeks there was a lot of euphoria as people from all over town rushed to help clean up debris, cut fallen trees, and serve meals. There were more people than work in some cases since the community was still organizing to get the recovery going. Now as a friend, who was amazingly upbeat about getting his house fixed and is living in his damaged house without heat, said dejectedly “the novelty has worn off.” Actually I think the whole town is depressed.
I am writing this as the rain is pouring down again after just a few days of beautiful sunshine. Severe thunderstorms, hail, and possible tornados are predicted. Every time that word is announced on the news I cringe.
Due to the rain dampness and mold is spreading in the damaged buildings as many of them only have temporary roofs and are without heat. Power has been mostly restored where the damage was not too extensive.
On Saturday we were helping to clean up a two story large church complex heavily damaged by water. It was so moldy and damp in this formerly beautiful building that it was hard to work. And there were people who had been working there for days. My heart goes out to them.
For me I have turned to my photography and haiku to help heal some of my depression.
This is a photo of Mount Carmel Baptist church whose ministry to one of the poorest parts of our community has been seriously disrupted by damage to their own structures.
I wrote this haiku after a friend, who used to attend this church before he moved away, remarked how he loved seeing the sunlight come through the stained glass windows.
Bright stained-glass windows
Darkened, shattered by the storm
Beauty in limbo.