The Aftermath: An H-Town Story
This weekend I had the opportunity to visit Houston and help volunteer with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
During the 2-hour flight from Atlanta I listened to a philosophy interview about "The Self" and the teachings of Satre. In the lecture the speaker talked about how we view ourselves as people. A theory that states that who you think you are is a subjective opinion of yourself and that sometimes people around you can tell you who you are more than yourself. The theory runs deeper and a little more convoluted but I give this precursor for a reason.
Once we arrived in Houston we drove to the hotel and immediately saw piles of water damaged possessions in uniform fashion in a lot across from homes. We got to the hotel and made sure everything was in order for us to meet the rest of the volunteers at the NRG center in the heart of Houston.
One thing I always do when I visit a new city is watch the local news and Houston most definitely was no exception. There is a lot of help out here for people. Local companies have chipped in an effort to make peoples lives a little easier. At the same time I saw a developing story in regards to the Red Cross. There were many claims in the beginning of the disaster about the money being donated disappearing and the target is the CEO, Gail McGovern. Unfortunately, she is nowhere to be found and not available for an interview at this time.
Early that next morning we arrived at the center to check in and were assigned the single men living area. During a brief orientation we learned even more about the current state of the Harvey victims at the center. About a third of the victims of the hurricane were previously homeless. There were about 200-250 people in the single men area where we were assigned. This means people from off the street intertwined with people who had lost their homes and were waiting on FEMA's aid.
In the midst of picking up cots, keeping watch at doors, and sharing encouraging words to those around us, I encountered a 20 year-old native named Michael. He greeted me and expressed his gratitude for our help. We began to talk about where he was in life before the disaster hit. "God is real bruh," he would utter after every statement. He talked about losing his daughter due to suffocation after getting out of prison, making a complete 180 from drug addiction, not seeing his mother since he was 6-months old and his father being killed at 12.
vibe After sharing a couple of my own personal stories of hardships and revelations, we began to talk music. He said he rapped and pulled out a notebook full of lyrics, notes on studio equipment, names and more. I told him that there are specific avenues for this type of these days. People would want to hear what you have been through, your story and the come up. I proceeded to give him advice about what he should do to put his music out to the world, and how to promote himself. I shared with him what we do and told him when he's ready to promote something to let me know. He was almost moved to tears reassuring me that God brought me there that day for a reason. We exchanged numbers and social media accounts then my shift was over.
God is real. I felt that my sole purpose for coming to Houston this weekend was to have this 2 hour conversation with Michael. Sometimes it's not who you think you are in life but how you impact other's is a more honest definition of who you are in this world.