It’s surreal. Watching commercials that are asking for relief funds for the city that I am living in. People have really lost it all. My next door neighbor’s friend lost his 3-month old baby during a rush of water. My sister-in-law’s entire home was under water and she’s lost everything.

The damage and devastation that Hurricane Harvey has caused to my husband’s city….to my kid’s city…is undeniable and unbelievable. I am completely heartbroken. Meanwhile, our own home went unscathed. We experienced zero damage. Our biggest struggle was losing power for less than an hour. My kids enjoyed the lazy days in by watching every movie a million times and I spent most of the days cooking real food–multiple pots & skillets required kind of food. My family in San Antonio, TX went business as usual with a little wind and drizzle. That’s it. How incredibly blessed am I? I almost feel a sort of survivors remorse mixed with extreme thankfulness. It is a whirlwind of emotion. But that’s it. Emotion. Not devastation.

RJ and Makenzie attend a prep school that follows the Houston Independent School District schedule and they have been closed since the Thursday before the hurricane hit. HISD is the largest school district in the greater Houston area and they just announced that due to the amount of damage to schools and city infrastructure, school has been postponed until the 11th. Teachers are starting FundMe campaigns to raise money to help them replace the classroom supplies and that has now been lost.

The kids’ school has a main building that houses several classes in the basement and both RJ and Makenzie’s classes were down there. I received an email this morning from their school saying that the teachers who were not devastated by the hurricane have come in to help bring the school back to life and were aiming to have the classrooms relocated and the school reopened by the 5th (the original date set out by HISD).

How amazing are teachers?! They are true blessings.

Things like this really remind you of all your blessings; and your humanity. I packed up the entire back of my car and donated things that I had originally planned on selling. People need clothes more than I need more money in my pocket. I donated some business suits, some clothes that still had tags on it (shame on me) and shoes that had never even been worn. We won’t dive into my consumer lifestyle right now. (This disaster also highlighted my need for change in that part of my life.)

I also won’t get into the corruption of some relief organizations because I want to focus on the positive: there are dozens and dozens of local relief projects who have been on the ground since the very beginning. If you are moved to donate, here are some links below:

*feature photo taken by local school teacher and photographer Nana Ankamah.

Until next time,

Ashly

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