I’m glad to hear the transient “kids” are moving down the pike toward New Orleans (“A stop on the squatters’ trail,” March 5). These rail riders should direct their smash-happy attitude toward the construction site in the 9th Ward. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as swinging a framing hammer to get your ya-yas out. They’ll get a free cot to sleep on, under the stars to boot. I can’t think of a better symbiosis than to have idle hands helping people in an area of the country where those remaining residents were driven from their homes by floods and lack the choices these street dwellers have of leaving it all behind. To be able to give to a community that you are not invested in gives you the freedom of moving on with a new insight into others’ lives and a self-appreciation for your modest contribution.
The moments I spent with (some of them underage) transient youths helping in the Musicians Village gave me hope that there was a new generation of givers. Like newborn fawns, crawling up a roof line, then scrambling to their feet and within hours beaming at their accomplishments, it gave them and me immediate gratification. What a sight to behold and good stories to tell your grandkids. Some of these young folks are now looking toward taking their new skills to another Habitat for Humanity site. It can be an ironic win-win situation in the next town these folks choose to invade.