By Elodie CUZIN
Houston (AFP) Sept 2, 2017
The traffic jams are back on the vast highways lacing through the heart of Houston, and the sun is shining again.
Many Houstonians are still trying to salvage what they can from their flooded homes. But one word captures the mood in the most racially diverse US city: solidarity.
"Come on in!" calls Sarah Osborne without a moment's hesitation, as she opens the door to her red brick home, a US flag planted on a tree near the entrance.
Standing before her -- hammers in hand, dust masks around their neck -- are four young men who introduce themselves as members of Ahmadiyya, of the Ahmadi sect, the oldest Muslim-American organization in the United States.
Since Hurricane Harvey struck Texas a week ago unleashing a deluge that flooded Houston, youths from the organization -- which has some 700 members in Houston and 5,000 throughout the country -- have gathered to help storm victims.
Wearing a work apron over his jeans, a cap and fluo sneakers, the dynamic Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association spokesman Rahman Nasir says that his members have rescued some 20 families by boat. As the flood waters recede they have also helped clear debris from 20 to 30 homes.
At Sarah and Robert Osborne's house the youths use their hammers to tap open the bottom of the walls and pull out waterlogged drywall. With a wheelbarrow, they dump loads of debris onto the pavement in Houston's Westbury neighborhood.
Ruined furniture, soggy carpet and cracked mirrors litter the neighborhood lawns -- scenes repeated everywhere as neighbors, friends and previously unknown volunteers help carry out household items, either to dry in the sun or to be removed as trash.
- Texas stigma -
"That's the spirit of this city, everybody is just helping everybody," says Sarah Osborne. "People just help each other. That doesn't matter, the color of your skin, or where you're from, or what your religion is, or whatever."
Her husband Robert adds: "There's a stigma in Texas that we're racists, we're white, that we're anti-Muslims or anti-homosexuals or just anti-everything, we're Bible-thumping, shot-gun blasting -- and it couldn't be further from the truth about Houston, because our city is so diverse."
Census figures show that Houston is the most racially diverse city in the United States, more even than New York and Los Angeles.
Nasir, a 23-year-old student who grew up in Houston, agrees with Robert.
"If we were to believe the news, I would get a slammed door in my face. But in reality people welcome us and welcome our service," he said.
Beyond the expressions of solidarity, the trauma of sudden loss is also evident in this neighborhood.
Moved upon seeing her child's artwork still attached to a cupboard about to be thrown out, Kelsey Johnson confides she wants to leave the house she shares with her husband DeAndre and their two children.
"How it hit Houston as a whole, I think is pretty overwhelming to a lot of people," said Tom Cosgrove, 32, a property manager who arrived Friday morning from Austin, the state capital, to help his aunt.
"Driving around this neighborhood you can just see how many people get devastated, and honestly there are probably still people in their homes who just don't know what to do yet," he said.
Behind him, his aunt, 54-year-old Lisa Plack, is scrubbing metal dishes in a tub near wet chairs and sofas that are drying out on the lawn.
"We're seriously exhausted," she said. "But the way people come together, it's very satisfying. Just the community spirit."
"You hear nothing but bad press, you hear nothing but, you know, this group hates this group, and then you find out: nobody hates anybody. Everybody comes together."
Washington (UPI) Aug 31, 2017
In a newly published study, researchers argue the intelligence and cognitive abilities of apes are continually underestimated and discounted. According to a team of international scientists, decades of ape research has been poisoned by the base assumption that humans are smarter and more capable than - and all-around superior to - their ape ancestors. David Leavens, a professor ... read more
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|