Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17, 2010, Meet SBP Homeowners Kwame and Dominique

Kwame and Dominique, originally uploaded by St. Bernard Project.

Every once in a while, you meet homeowners that really touch your heart. That is not to say that the stories of every other homeowner is any less meaningful nor important, but the situation of Kwame and Dominique really resonated with me.

Maybe it was the way that Dominique, a vivacious, incredibly friendly young woman greeted me on her lawn. It was hot outside, so I didn't expect her to come meet me outside, but she did anyway-- and by 'hot' I mean Louisiana-sticky-humid-I-never-want-to-leave-my-house hot. I wouldn't even meet myself outside. But here she was, standing on her lawn at midday. She brought me into her home, mostly gutted, with light fixtures tenuously hanging by a few wires, two large pitbulls, chains taut, staring right into my face.

Dominique deftly assured the dogs that I was no threat, and they quickly came to my smell my shoes, welcoming me into their home, as their master had. Dominique kindly offered me some cold water before introducing me to Kwame, her husband.

Meet Kwame. He's laying in his neatly made bed, dressed in comfortable New Orleans-themed attire, fleur-de-lis and all. The room was dark, but cool. He shook my hand from his laying position. He was unable to easily get up.

Kwame suffered a devastating stroke in 2008. The night the Dominique went to pick up Kwame from the hospital, their car was totaled by in an automobile wreck. The stroke left him essentially immobile and dependent on Dominique for his every need.

Here he was laying there in his bed. House gutted. No floors, shoddy electrical work, a barely functioning kitchen, at the mercy of nature. Through it all, his effervescent and loving wife, Dominique lays next to him, hand in hand.

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