Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Love Wears A Yellow Shirt

Mormon Helping Hands

We returned to the debris of Khosrow's house Saturday to see if anything else could be recovered.

Of particular interest were some gold and silver coins that were in a drawer in his bedroom, which was on the first floor.

Weight of debris and cabinets pancaked the dishwasher

Getting at anything on the first floor was next to impossible, requiring first that we remove all the rubble and roof tiles from the second floor that had collapsed on top.

We went back out to Khosrow's house with Doug and I and the kids and my sister Janet. Sean had been very apprehensive about going to the site of Khosrow's former home, the concept of losing his own home became a little too real to him this last week.

A "table" set from what we recovered from Khosrow's kitchen (I think Sean is holding an aerosol can)

On Thursday when we first got there, homeowners were walking up and down the street with haunted eyes, embracing each other and crying silently or openly.

By Saturday people were focusing on the next steps, how to remove the debris, how to make arrangements to rebuild. The owners of the homes left standing were trying to get their utilities turned back on.

Sean, whose help is always a mixed blessing

I wanted Sean to go out there, feeling that the reality was going to be better than what he was imagining. I told him that if he'd ever had any interest in archaeology, this might be the closest he ever to participating in an archaeology dig.

And dig we did. About an hour into it, three women in bright yellow shirts and carrying sieves approached and asked if they could help. We said yes and they picked up shovels and rakes and sieves and helped with the digging and sifting.

Rainbow in the distance

The women were from a group called Mormon Helping Hands. I'd heard of them before, a friend of mine in Louisiana told me how they were out clearing the roadways in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

After a bit two more women in yellow shirts joined us and I could see yellow shirts up and down the street.

One of the women digging had lost her home during Hurricane Andrew.

Khosrow with our Mormon helpers

While they were there helping us we saw a rainbow, we took it as a symbol of hope.

Sean confided to me in hushed tones after he'd been digging for a while that it was "actually a little bit fun", but as always, Sean's help always comes with a price. As illustrated by our canoeing adventure last summer, Sean isn't really partial to listening to other people, he likes to do things his own way. In the case of the digging, he would often dig and then dump the rubble into an area we'd just cleared. Or he'd shovel up a pile of debris we'd been intending to sift through and dump it somewhere else.

Sean's very favorite thing to do was to throw globs of molten glass and into existing rubble piles and watch them shatter, an activity that is normally forbidden at our house.

Sean holding the gold coins that Doug recovered

Although our new Mormon friends had to leave before we were finished, they helped immensely by clearing out the rubble on top of where we were trying to get to. Sean was interested in finding gold coins, but doesn't have too much patience and gave up quickly.

Doug persisted in sifting and eventually we found one, then another. It was pretty miraculous, very much akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

The coins were shiny and in great condition as well, surprising to us after finding all those U.S. coins melted together the day before.

The Battle Mountain Cross

Many, many thanks to the LDS angels that got sweaty and dirty and tired alongside us amongst the ashes. Love comes from many places, but there's something really special about the people who don masks and carry shovels and listen to our stories while getting covered in soot.

Again, thank you.

- Kathleen

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2 Comments:

Blogger Herman Verbrugge said...

The whole World has seen those infernos and the damage on houses. So many people lost their house and possessions. It was an awful sight and nobody was able to stop the fire until the wind turned.
I hope your friends are now save and everything will be fine in time. You and your family are true friends for those you take care of. You are good people.

November 11, 2007 7:37 AM  
Blogger Bettina said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 08, 2009 7:24 PM  

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