TRIP 2006

Update #29 - October 20th
Pearlington, Mississippi
7826 miles ( 12,521 KM) since March 27th,
8317 miles ( 13,307 KM) since Jan 01st

I wish that I could say that I accomplished something with my time through the Mississippi Gulf Coast where they are still rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina but all I got accomplished was getting quite frustrated. I wished that I had taken more time in investigating the various disaster volunteer programs throughout the Gulf Coast but I didn't. It would have been nice to find out which ones were legitimate or not.

If I had done more homework, I would have probably found out how bad the program was at the Baptist church I had gotten connected to in Gulfport. I would have probably found out that the pastor was under federal investigation for fraud. He is under investigation for the misuse of both federal grant money and also donations. I found this out through conversation with some of the people around the church but it was also confirmed when I connected with another recovery center. Because of this and other things like living in an unsafe environment, I got back on the road last Saturday.

It took me a little over a day to find a safe route around St. Louis Bay. I got into Waveland Sunday morning. After church, I tried to get connected with one of the numerous church-sponsored recovery volunteer centers but I didn't have any luck. The two that I came across did not accept unscheduled volunteers and no single people. They only wanted groups.

I had to hole up in a motel in Waveland for two nights because of some bad thunderstorms. I arrived at the Pearlington Recovery Center around late morning on Tuesday. Pearlington is on the banks of the Pearl River, which is the state line between Louisiana and Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina made landfall just south of Pearlington and then it followed the Pearl River.

There were already several groups at the Baptist and Presbyterian Churches. I found my way over to the Recovery Center that is on the grounds of the elementary school that had been destroyed by the hurricane. The managers of the volunteer center were hesitant in allowing me to stay since they had some problems with unannounced walk-ins. It took some persuasion on my part to convince them that I was legitimate and they let me stay.

I made a go of it for 3.5 days but in my case it's not going to work out. I'm the odd-man-out here since I'm not connected with one of the church groups that stay at the center. Because of this, I wasn't sent out on any of the work crews going out to rebuild the damaged homes. I was supposed to be going out with another program next week but that program recently lost their main financial support so it might have to be shut down even though there are six houses in construction with the most one being 60% complete.

I'm not going to sit around inactive this weekend. I've chosen to get back on the road. I'll be probably be going to the Waco, Texas area to visit with the web designer who gave me space on his server for my website back in March.

I'll try and post and update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between October 27th and November 02nd.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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