Feb 8, 2007
This week we present the Japanese folk tale of Amaterasu, a goddess who was in charge of the sun, and went to hide in a cave when her feelings were hurt, taking the sun away with her. How did her siblings coax her into returning and bringing back the sunshine? Find out in this, one of many, many tales of catastrophic floods and storms from many cultures throughout the world.
We chose one of these stories for this week because we just paid our first visit to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina hit. We found the city itself in pretty good shape, but in St. Bernard Parish, the destruction is still jaw-dropping 16 months after the disaster.
We were in town to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, expecting to wield hammers and saws in the reconstruction of damaged buildings. Instead, we were hooked up with a partner program called Play Helps, created by the Children's Museum of Manhattan to use the arts as therapy for children traumatized by 9-11. We spent a couple of days at Andrew Jackson Elementary School (formerly Andrew Jackson High School) having fun playing with musical instruments and playing with the students who were playing with them. We also participated in a family fun night at the school, and made up a theatre/sports game for the occasion.
We worked with a retired gentleman named Danny, who, like us, is a fulltime RVer. He demonstrated for the kids a Native American flute and a Tibetan singing bowl. It was, we hope, reassuring for the students to meet folks like us who live in an RV by choice, since most of them have been living in FEMA trailers out of necessity.
Dennis "Susanowo", Kimberly "Amaterasu" and Zephyr "Tsuki