Thursday, September 7, 2017

MY HEART AND PRAYERS CONTINUE TO BE WITH SOUTH TEXAS, HOUSTON, AND NOW, FLORDIA

Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move through flooded Houston streets as floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey continue to rise.

I received an article from my brother called This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same. Neither will the fourth largest city in the country, Houston. 

This is one those things I have to share. The article was written by a space reporter, Eric Berger. I'm not sure what kind of working relationship he and my brother share, but his account of Hurricane Harvey is heartbreaking.

I'm a little familiar with what my dear Texas family is going through. When I was about ten years old, I played in our front yard with my six brothers and sisters as the eye of Hurricane Beulah roamed over us. It dumped 27 inches of rain on the Rio Grande in three hours, about half that dumped on central Houston. I still remember being evacuated by the National Guard, this strong soldier lifting me up into the back of this huge truck as the Arroyo River flooded my back yard. My family lived in the refugee center at Harlingen High School for weeks. I remember returning to a ruined home, mud three feet deep and very little salvageable from the home we left behind. I remember finding snakes, tarantulas and roaches on the top shelves of everything and the smell of rot, mold, mud and decay lived with me for months. What I still tear up about even today was the devastation in my parent's faces. It was the first time I ever saw my mother cry. She had just cleaned up three feet of mud in the kitchen, had the counters bleached to an inch of their life before she opened the oven. A blob of mud dropped onto the floor, dead bugs floating on top. She sat where she stood and broke down. My rushing to her may have stopped the tears, but the heartache for what she lost would remain with her for a long time to come. My parents never recovered completely. 

We were a small rural area. Now, just imagine that storm hitting a city of 5 million people instead a rural area with few small towns.



"What can I do to help? 
That has been the mantra since this nightmare began. Hundreds of Houston residences-many who have lost everything, pitched in immediately with their boats and on foot to rescue their neighbors, the situation too overwhelming for the disaster relief efforts in place. Help has come from other counties and states as well. But it's not enough. There has never been such devastation in our history. 

As I write this post, Hurricane Irma, a Category 5, batters parts of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and threatening serious destruction to a string of Caribbean islands. On Saturday, it's expected to hit Florida. 

I sit in my dry home and I wrestle with what can I do to help? I imagine there are a lot of us who feel that way. And sadly, tragedy brings out the heartless individual who use the suffering of so many to exploit. I can only pray there is a special hell for those individuals who price gouge things like water, food and gasoline. If my sweet mom was still with me, she would say the first thing to do is pray, then do what you can. So...praying is done. I haven't let up in days. The second suggestion is harder. Who do I trust with the money I donate? Here are a couple who were there for us so many years ago and I have trusted over the years. 

Other suggestions: 
I found this article in the New York TimesWhere to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams) It contains list of local Houston base charities as well as national and global funds. My advice is to look closely before you write that check or give your credit card number. But with that said, we all need to open our hearts and do what we can to help each other out.  

To my Houston and Florida readers, my heart and prayers are with you. If you have something you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below. 

Hugs to all,

Nancy C. Weeks

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