Burners Without Borders – Report from the Field

Biloxi, Mississippi

In the field with Richard, aka Big Stick:

This week has been awesome, the weather cooler and no rain. Our distribution center is running well! Stocked with loads of cool stuff from all over the US. We are still seeing 200 people daily through the big red Pacific dome. The kids are great and the families are really starting to show trust and appreciation for us.

We unloaded 600 sacks of rice on Wednesday by hand and, when we found out that 36,000lbs (that’s 760, 50lb bags) were arriving on Friday we decided to steal a fork lift, “just for awhile.” Anyway, we as volunteers distributed more rice this week than any other grass roots bunch anywhere in the south. Rice anyone?

Three new Playa Pals that drove across country are really making a huge difference. After a day of travel recovery, all is well, just remember it is a climate of constant change. We are looking forward two new volunteers from the West and North West, the Machine Crew is here and clicking and we are tricking. The big shots are totally impressed with our “people power” attitude, and the professionalism. What did they expect!

We had a grand BBQ last night “Saturday” thanks to the fine folks that gave donations at the decom, that I heard was awesome. It was the first big sit down dinner we had in days. “Thanks to all that kicked in”.

Huge hurdles have been overcome, the temple now has electricity due to all’s efforts, no more generators Yea!!!

The insulation and drywall inside the temple is being installed by several groups of volunteers and the spirits are good. This facility is the shining star in a pile of blown out rubble.

Swag (in the form of Team Duke t-shirts from the John Wayne Foundation, via Patricia Arquette–don’t ask) bought us a ton of phones and wi-fi, two potential techy type burners who installed the system in our World Shelter playa worthy structure and message zone shined like a star on a dark night. We were able to check our mail and go on line for the 1st time without being rushed. It was glorious!

Some of crew have finished rebuilding a temple in Bayou La Batre (about 30 miles away and hit hard) and will start painting it on Monday.

We continue to struggle a bit dealing with the devastation and trying to find common ground with good people that have lost everything, but we know that the little difference that we make is making a change in the lives of East Biloxi.

Later, Richard

About the author: Tom Price

Tom Price is the former Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day three remains intact.