Alice's Story of the Hurricane Aftermath

10-31-05-An e-mail from Alice

Well friends here I am again on a new adventure.  I figure since I have email access I should send an update.  The number one thing I want to say is that everything is NOT FINE HERE.  I am in Waveland Mississippi, about 45 minutes east of New Orleans.  Everything was devastated.  Most houses are gone, and the ones that are standing were still destroyed by flood waters.  The water reached 6 to 15 feet in this area.  So now myself and many other rainbow brothers and sisters (View story from MS-NBC) are cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner every day at the Waveland Cafe.  We serve 800 to 1000 meals a day and sometimes we cook additional food and send it out to other groups. 

Typical meal served and the alternative

Just to give you an idea about what I am doing here is a typical day.  Wake up around 8 and serve breakfast (I recently found out how to set the alarm on my mom's cell phone so I will probably start waking up at 6 to cook sometimes).  Then I eat breakfast myself.  I probably eat better here than at home.  Then I either help cook lunch (prep starts immediately after breakfast) or do the breakfast dishes.  Next I help serve lunch, then eat lunch.  Next I either help with dinner or work in the Kids Space which is like a day care.  Then help serve dinner and eat again.  After dinner is always dishes, and I am usually done by 9.  (yes that is 8 AM to 9 PM)  I occasionally try to take a 20 minute break to do yoga or email you all.  As you can see these breaks are few so I am sorry if I don't send many messages.

My favorite times are serving times because that is when I get to see all of the people we are here to help.  Many offer thanks and that just touches my heart.  It is inspiring to me and seeing everyone we help is the best motivation I have ever had. 

As far as accommodations I am sleeping in a tent and we have three computers with Internet and cold showers.  My number one goal is to find a washer before I have to wash everything by hand.  I doubt it will happen.  The only things I am cautious about are overworking myself, getting enough sleep, and keeping my hands dry.  I have to wear gloves for cooking, serving and dishes so it keeps my hands wet most of the day.  Not good for healing cuts.  I find that I am always looking for something to do, and feel a little guilty if I am not helping.

There are so many wonderful hard working people here, and I have made some new friends.  I love what I am doing and hope you all have something equally rewarding in your life. 
Peace and love from Mississippi


An email from Alice-mid November
Hello everyone,

Well I am still helping at the Cafe.  I don't quite remember what I said before, so sorry if I repeat.  First off I arrived at the crash and burn stage.  I was working twelve hour days for two weeks straight and I realized I was starting to get really bitchy.  Luckily I have been making friends and I was able to get away and watch a movie the other night.  That was all I needed to get my all day smile back.  Now I am trying to keep it down to nine hour days and take breaks when I need them. 
The greatest news came the other day.  We now have hot showers!!!!  Yea! 
I am taking some new roles in the kitchen.  I found that I am not wanting to focalize any meals, but I like to help.  I have made salad and cheese sauce on my own, but I usually help others with their meals.  I have been focalizing the serving line.  I write out the menu board, get the food and serving utensils out, find people to serve, get back up food, clean up and count how many meals we serve (the count is broken down by resident, volunteer and worker)  This count is pretty important and I also report it to the county.  I feel that I have found my niche.
We have the greatest food.  Here is the menu for breakfast:french toast, grits, sausage, fruit salad, coffee cake and eggs.  Lunch was fried chicken, french fries, elk stew, vegetable barley soup, broccoli, cheese sauce, salad and bread.  A lot of what we use is organic too.
We had a sister circle last night and it was magical.  We have been having some intense circles and a lot of issues have come up.  One volunteer was asked to leave two days ago.  It was nice to connect with my sisters and share some love and heartsongs without the drama.  I also learned (or started to learn) contact dance.  As you can see it is not all work.
Well that is all I can think of now.  I love you all and I will see you soon.