A Volunteer’s Story: The "Hippie Compound"

This morning, Steve and Cecelia took Lisa and myself to the "hippie compound" for breakfast. The "hippie compound" is a free market place that was set up by a church group in Waveland, Mississippi. These truly blessed people cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for all communities in the area. The market is a mini-shopping center, so that people can come and shop for food and other needs for free. Since most people do not have the ability to store these goods, they make daily trips to this market. This market also serves another well-needed purpose: allows people to start getting back into routine. They are able to mingle and share their stories in order to recover mentally and emotionally.

A medical tent is set up in the market place. People go there for free tetanus and hepatitis shots as well as other medical treatment needed due to the living conditions there. Both Lisa and myself received tetanus and hepatitis "A" shots because we were working in contaminated conditions although that situation is getting better. We met a doctor from California named David. Dr. David was reaching out to the communities in need and setting up medical clinics. He was dealing with two men within the Mississippi Department of Health but they failed to return Dr. David's phone calls to get medical supplies. Dr. David asked if I would escort him, as a member of the Red Cross, into the Camp Katrina "compound" because he needed to try to find these two men and hold them accountable to their word in assisting him with medical supplies. When these men could not be accounted for, Dr. David took matters into his own hands and was directed to the SMAT team for assistance. The SMAT team is from the Carolina's and is a medical assistance team with the capabilities of obtaining the medical supplies that Dr. David required to set up his next clinic. This SMAT team took a two-page list from Dr. David and seemed willing to assist him. The people he dealt with were professional and appeared to respect what he was trying to accomplish. As Dr. David stated, "when I have the supplies in my hand, I'll believe it." They met the task and Dr. David received all the medical supplies he needed and he successfully set up a medical clinic in a desperately needed Lake Shores area.

The bureaucracy in Camp Katrina is beyond comprehension. One would think that the different agencies would work together for the common goal of the people but reality is that egos are getting in the way.

Another great thing in this market place is the band that set up to entertain the community. This leads me to another thought. There is a radio station, WQRZ-103.5 run by Brice Phillips who needs help. This radio station is a 501C3 charitable station supported by the public. According to the locals, this radio station is needed and serves it communities well. The station is on the verge of having to pull the plug because it relies on the communities it serves for support. Since these communities cannot support the station due to the economic conditions at this time, it is forcing the station to either find other means of support until the communities get back on their feet or shut down. I urge anyone interested in supporting this station to get involved by adopting it. It takes just a little bit from a number of people for it to maintain itself. There is power in numbers! Brice Phillips can be reached at (228) 463-1035. He can tell you exactly what he needs in order to maintain this radio station.

God bless,


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