Today was our last day in New Orleans. We are at the same house we were at yesterday. We continue putting up walls and ceilings, climbing on ladders and doing a lot of measuring. Tomorrow Keith, Heather and Nathan will be heading off to Jazz Fest before flying home. The rest of us will be starting a sixteen hour drive to Maryland. This was my fourth trip down and every year I forget how special it is. The people here are so welcoming to us and all of them have a story to tell.

This morning on the way to the job site a lady in the car driving next to ours saw the Katrina Mission Trip signs on the side of the van and mouthed thank you at me. I saw things like that all week, especially when we were wearing our mission team shirts. People would come up to us in stores or at Jazz Fest and thank us for what we were doing.

For our lunch break, we went to a small restaurant to get snowballs and a group of woman saw our dust covered clothes and asked us what we were doing. When we told her, she was very grateful and thanked each of us for the work that we were doing. People like that make every sheet of drywall I measured incorrectly seem a lot better. It’s hard to see the kind of impact I’m making on people when you spend four hours trying to fit a sheet of drywall onto one tiny space. But when I step outside and talk to the people, it helps me to see that every little thing we’re doing makes a difference.

Even though it’s my fourth year going on this mission trip, I still found new things that I love about this city and the people who live here. I am sad to be going home tomorrow, but I also know that I will be back for as many years as we are needed. Driving down the street, there are still houses with boarded up windows and X’s on the doors. There’s over a hundred houses on the St. Bernard project waiting list and over one hundred families that after ten years, still don’t have a house to live in. What we were able to do in a week might have been small compared to all that still needs to be done, but I’m glad that we got to make a difference in two families lives this week by helping them on their journey to get home.

~Michaela Weinberger