Donna lives around Dulac, Louisiana. She lives in a trailer with her husband, uncle and sister-in-law. Behind her home there is a small building. Every time the hurricanes come to devastate the bayou, Donna opens a free store.
Inside there are boxes of food, toiletries, clothes, cleaning supplies, house paint and other odds and ends. Families from all around come to collect a box to begin to replace all that they lost.
Sure, Donna’s yard is full of mud and is half recovered from the hurricane. Her living room is full of boxes and she had to move the dining room table into her bedroom to make room for more storage, but she wakes at 6 to prepare the store, feed her volunteers and prepare for the onslaught of people in need that will be at her doorstep.
The bayou was left by FEMA and the Red Cross is hardly visable. This native and Cajun fishing community has no money and no high value property to be lost in the flooding and damage. Gustav tore the buildings apart and Ike brought the water. Donna is ready to make sure everyone is able to get what they need to piece their lives back together.
A set of palets served as the floor and the back of a pickup was our supply station. The medics were clad in knee high rubber boots, cargo pants and shirts smudged with mud. People lined up to get their blood pressure checked, test their blood sugar, find a way to get medication refills and get other illnesses checked. Bryan ran water to people in line while Jaimie and I scurried about through surges of patients.
It isn’t the most glamorous work, but our swamp clinic served several dozens of people today. We mixed herbal teas, ran exams and tried to get folks their medications faster. The shift today was long and rewarding. Even better, no one is trying to arrest us for attempting to help people in need.