The spirit of the people

Meghan Gauriloff


For the past seven months the media has plastered across the world images of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina hit, but when I signed up to go on the trip to Biloxi, Miss., I did not expect to see the area still completely devastated.

Even though the astonishing destruction was widely visible, what affected me the most was the overwhelming sense of hope and spirit the residents demonstrated. Through their incredible generosity, the residents always made me and the other volunteers feel welcome, despite our surroundings.

It was extremely difficult to stand back and observe those trying to rebuild their lives with little help from the government and insurance companies. However, they were always willing to share their experiences and hardships with me.

At the end of the trip, complaining about little sleep, cold showers and long bus rides seemed very insignificant when compared to what the hurricane victims go through on a daily basis. It really made me appreciate my life and everything I take for granted.

I will always be touched by the memories of the people I met and the stories they told, and I hope I will be able to return.

– Meghan Gauriloff