Mississippi — March 10

Harrison ’16 writes:

Work continued at both houses today and yesterday. Wednesday was a half day so we worked at both houses in the morning before having lunch at the dorm and heading to Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi, better known as Ole Miss. We enjoyed shopping in town and several of us went to the baseball game between Ole Miss and Southeastern Missouri State for an hour or two before going to dinner at a great barbecue place in town. We were joined by GS alum and Ole Miss student Ben Haferl, GS ’15. We all enjoyed our meals before getting in the vans for our trip back to Clarksdale. Mild weather in Oxford quickly turned to torrential downpours and thunderstorms in Clarksdale.

This morning we split up into the same groups and went to our respective houses to get work done. The group at Spruce Street finished painting and will be joining the rest of the group at LeFlore Street tomorrow. The group at LeFlore worked for about an hour and a half before Tim, one of the Habitat workers, got a call from the Habitat coordinator, Lena, telling him to get a group of us ready to go to a canoe shop that was flooding. From the street, everything seemed to be okay, but three stories down, below the levee, the river was quickly rising. About half the group waded through the knee-high water to the basement door where several workers from the canoe shop were already building sandbag walls and bailing out water. We helped collect important documents and books and pass them up through a hole the owner cut in the ground/ceiling so they would be protected from the flooding. Most of the items in the basement were canoe related things, and therefore waterproof, but there were also many books and official papers that needed to be moved to higher ground. We were helping them until about 1:30 when we had done just about as much as we could. The water line was still rising so there was no use bailing the water anymore and the sandbags were only going to be useful for so long. All the important documents, books, clothes, etc. were upstairs and all the canoes were tied to a cluster of trees in a calm part of what is now the river. I hope everyone is okay and no further damage ensues. John, the owner, was very grateful for our help and it made us all feel good. And, on top of that, we were all getting tired of mudding the walls at Leflore!

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