Day Four - "One step at a time."
We were ecstatic to arrive at the school. As Papa said, "one step at a time." We were moving forward and closer to returning home. LaSalle was overflowing. The 1,600 refugees from the gym were now crammed into the sprawling school campus. It had sustained much damage. The building had many windows in its concrete structure. It was surrounded at one time, by beautiful majestic trees. It was just short of being in ruins.
We were not greeted with open arms. The rooms were filled to overflowing capacity. Though they were larger than the ghetto school rooms, it was not comfortable for 50 to 60 people. When personal space is so cramped, tempers flair.
Jeannie and I were at the gate entrance sitting with a volunteer helping with the American consulate. She was giving information out, as limited and unreliable as it may be, it was at least news. We were told that our luggage was more than likely unretrievable. It would be gone through and cleaned then given to the poor.
This is when I lost it. I did not cry, I did not yell, I did not scream. I just become so angry that when a disgruntled woman appeared and began to complain to the Aid about the new people entering the LaSalle I let her have it.
"We were brought here by the military, just like you. We have nothing, just like you. We have been wearing the same clothes for four days, just like you. Do you think we want to be here? We feel just like you."
We were not to be separated. We were adamant that we stay together. Joe and Dave went across the street to the gym and salvaged rubber pallets. The RUI group hastily cleaned out a flooded area on the second floor of a back section of the school. We trooped up there and found a mansion on a hill! We had the room to ourselves! Twenty of us spread our pallets, set up housekeeping once again and then began to work on the next step.