Friday, August 29, 2008

August 29th - Hello Again... and Goodbye

I end today where this journey began - on August 29th, the date of the most catastrophic event I have ever experienced. Now here we are again, awaiting our fate with Hurricane Gustav (and perhaps Hanna). Many of us are evacuating early. This would otherwise be standard protocol, had Katrina not imbued the underlying fear that we may not be coming back (and that what we leave behind might perish).

In any case, it's been two months since I've updated the blog. I'd like to share some good news - we have moved in. I am truly grateful to all who have assisted along the way. Most recently, two friends Aiji and Isaiah helped me move in early July; my neighbor John K. worked with me to install my appliances; and of course, the good folks at continue to lend a hand when needed.

I'll not make this entry long. I want to get it out before midnight. And photos say more than I ever could through writing. But since this will be my last blog entry, I do want to express my gratitude for this enlightening, challenging, confidence-building experience. A friend told me once, "Jump. And build your wings on the way down." Over the past year, I've proven to myself time and again that I can build my own wings. It feels really good.

On the flip side, my energy is now almost completely drained. And although I am proud of this accomplishment, I have no desire to plunge into it again. So, now I know for sure that I don't want to go into construction (but I am actually considering Architecture). I look around my still-unfinished-but-liveable house, and the small projects seem almost impossible. I know that I must take it one day at a time.

The other piece of really good news is that I've been selected for the 3rd round of Historic Grant funding! My long-time readers will remember my disappointment at not having been chosen for the 1st round. It seems more than serendipitous that I would be chosen now when I'm feeling that I can't do anymore.... if I believed in that sort of thing.

Anyway, without further ado, I would like to share the latest photos of my house. Thanks for reading, y'all. Thanks for supporting me! Never forget how you/we rose into action in response to Katrina. Our humanity is the greatest weapon we have. Thanks again, y'all.

And please forgive the chaotic state of my house. As my cousin would say, "It's a hot mess."

Not impressed? Well, this is what it looked like right after Katrina:

So I would consider my work an improvement. Whoo-hoo!

I'm glad that I documented this whole process, but I'm more than glad that I don't have to anymore! Blogging has been a challenge in and of itself. To do one well is no small feat. Respect to all you bloggers out there. I truly don't know how people with kids (and no partners) do it.

And a final THANK YOU to everyone who has helped in any way throughout this process. Thanks for reading! Thanks for commenting! Be well!

P.S. The community garden is thriving. We have a small group of dedicated residents who care for it. We're growing a TON of okra right now, and preparing for the next growing season. Don't mess it up, Gustav! Also I, along with a handful of dedicated urban gardeners, started the Lower Ninth Ward Urban Farming Coalition (L9UFC). Among our proposed initiatives is one to start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) right here in the Lower Ninth Ward. With food access becoming a problem nationwide, and even moreso here, it only makes sense. Feel free to contact me via email if you want more info about the L9UFC.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I am so moved by this. It has meant a lot to me to witness, through your blog, your whole process. Being willing to start without knowing how you were going to do it; helping others when you had plenty to do for yourself; learning to accept help; and building community. Your house looks beautiful! Super congratulations!

Lynne Goodman

Sarah said...

Happy homecoming, Jenga!

I'm glad we're neighbors.


erica said... looks beautiful! congratulations!

Emily said...

Jenga, your house looks fabulous! It's so great to hear that you've been able to finally move in!

Also, I wanted to send you this link:

I don't know if you remember, but when Barbara, Mike & I were down there working on your house last spring we were with a larger group from Northwestern University. And they finally took the video we shot and made it into a short news story - check it out!

Hope all is well with you!

Emily Carnahan

Anietra said...

This comment is coming very late Jenga. A whole year! But I must tell you what a phenomenal job you did. Such hard work and dedication. You are driven! You create results! And you brought us all along for the ride. You built a beautiful home. Much love my dear!