July 4- Happy Birthday, America. We had to park the RV at a different site because someone had taken ours while we were in New Orleans. I like the park we're in better. It's close to a coffee shop, where they sell mochas. I should have access to wireless internet, as well, to keep my blog going. Today all the volunteers efforts went into cleaning the beaches from the new oil that washed to shore during the hurricane. Teens are not allowed to help with beach clean-up, so Bear, Davon and I hung out and played monopoly. It's a health issue, apparently. I can't figure out why it's a health issue to smell the fumes from the oil on the beaches but not a health issue to smell the oil on the birds and turtles. Maybe the masks we wear are different. Apparently it's not an issue in the other States we'll be going to, just here at Ground Zero. We learned there is a new vessel out in the water somewhere that came in from Taiwan. It's called "A Whale," and it's supposed to be able to siphon up more water, separate the oil from it, and then spit the water back into the ocean. So far we're hearing that tests they've done are inconclusive because of rough seas. That is another way of saying it isn't working.
July 5 - There were more turtles and pelicans to wash. Got back to the RV to find Devon real sick with a bad headache and throwing up. His Dad decided to get him back home, so the two of them flew out tonight. Mom flies out Wednesday. She didn't want us to make another trip back to New Orleans on Wednesday, so she went with Devon and his Dad to New Orleans and was going to rent a room, It's good because she can spend all day tomorrow seeing some of the old mansions and historic sites we didn't catch when we were there. Devon's dad left me the lap top he bought at the Good Will store. He asked that I donate it to another Good Will once our trip is done. I told him I would. We head out to Mississippi on Thursday. I told Devon's dad to let him finish out the trip; after all, the psychic at his reading said he was going to live to be 84. ha ha I'm going to miss Devon. He made me laugh a lot.
July 6 - Today I counted more than 150 brown pelicans and sea turtles waiting to be washed. There were tons of new volunteers who came in after the hurricane passed. Most were college students from Louisiana State University. They love their State Bird. Bear and I have gotten to where we can wash a pelican or turtle in 45 minutes, from beginning to end. On our shift, we washed four, including giving them Pepto-Bismol medicine. Even the pelicans who come in with very little oil are still given anti-acid medicine, as it is a given they swallowed the oil. Pelicans are constantly preening and cleaning their feathers, so they are all ingesting the crude. Once we got them all cleaned up, they went to rehab for monitoring. They will be put in cages tomorrow and flown to the Atlantic Coast of Florida. When people talk about the cost of the clean-up to BP, this is only one - paying to have them fly out. It is really heart breaking to see God's creatures covered in muck. A lot of the new volunteers were crying as they were washing them. Several of the turtles and pelicans were too broken and sick to be helped. The Bird Rescue staff had to euthanize them. That is when I cried.
July 7 - Bear and I had the early shift this morning (7a.m.-11a.m.). We had a very feisty pelican to wash today. One person can usually hold the beak on a pelican shut while the other person washes and rinses the bird. It took two people to hold our pelican's beak shut, and he made sure he got all of us wet and full of soap suds. I loved it. It meant he was still healthy. I named him when I took him to Rehab. He is now "Pepper," the Rebel Pelican. May he live a long life. We had a meeting last night as a group. Do we drive on to Mississippi on Thursday or stay here. The consensus is the help is needed the most at Ground Zero. We will stay in Louisiana throghout our stay. We will then turn in the RV the second week in August and fly to Florida for 7 days. We won't be in Florida to pick up tar balls. We'll go to Orlando and visit Disney World and Universal Studios. I want to go to the new Harry Potter Theme Park. That will be our reward to ourselves. From there, Bear and the elders will fly back to Portland. I'll fly out to Washington, D.C., where Mom and Poppa Demetrius will meet me at the airport and take me to my dorm at Georgetown University to help get me settled in. I'll return to Portland for the Christmas holiday. Mom is going to ship all my stuff from my room to the dorm, so my clothes, computer, i-pad, etc will be waiting for me. Bear and I are in one of the coffee shops eating chocolate chip croissants and drinking mochas. We are celebrating. All the pelicans who have been sent to Florida since we got here were tagged, and we learned today that all are doing well and are healthy.