I thought that, just because the news coverage had stopped months ago, everything had been cleaned up. Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast at the end of October. We arrived in New York City in late February as part of Georgetown University Hurricane Emergency Relief Efforts (GU HERE), and much of the damage still remained. We spent our days clad in white Tyvek suits, respirators, and goggles to protect ourselves from the mold building up in the houses we were working in. Mold removal is a tedious process that involves scrubbing every visible surface with a special cleaning solution.
Spending endless hours working on a house, only to be told that we weren’t anywhere close to finishing, gave me a profound understanding for the sheer amount of work required to rebuild after a disaster like Sandy. It’s work that is likely to continue for years and that is already being forgotten.