The next day four of the older boys from the center, one of the graduated boys, and the director came and immediately got to work clearing out all of the junk and ash and remnants. Shoveling it up and taking all of the trash outside and later loading it all into a pick up. The pickup belonging to a friend who gladly schlepped all of the trash to the dump and then took the boys home. She also had me pack up every article of clothing I own, which all reeked of smoke, as well as our curtains and cushion covers, and is in the process of washing ALL of it.
Thursdays are also the day that our lady who helps us clean comes. She worked solidly for hours in our kitchen scrubbing the ash off the walls and washing soot off of allllll of our dishes. She usually leaves in the late afternoon and we nearly had to push her out of the door to get her to stop cleaning. Then she refused to let us pay her. We tried and tried and she wouldn’t take it. We talked about it later and we think it’s because she wanted to be there as a friend like everyone else was. An amazing lady she is.
On Friday our lady who helps clean came back, a friends lady who helps clean that we know came, as well as 9 of our boys and the director again. They worked for hours scrubbing the walls with steel wool and washing them to get all of the soot out. Ceilings and everything. It was tough work but they went at it enthusiastically and solidly. They didn’t stop to rest at all but just kept going and going. I don’t know how all of it would have gotten done otherwise. They were amazing.
Our upstairs neighbors and house owners were cooking a huge batch of this sweet bean dish and gave us a big bowl of it to give to the boys to eat. We bought everyone some sodas and had a little bread and dakwa (sort of a thick peanut paste with most of the oil removed). Then as they were leaving and we were thanking them profusely some of them were thanking us. What?! I wanted to cry I was so grateful for everything.
The fire has certainly brought us together with our neighborhood. We’ve been able to really bond with them, especially our upstairs neighbors/owners of the building.
I’m really humbled with the outpouring of help/love/care/concern from our friends–especially our local friends. I don’t have words really. I am consistently surrounded by people I don’t deserve.