Whether it’s hurricanes, earthquakes, or wildfires, when catastrophe strikes anywhere in North America, Mennonite volunteers are often called upon to help rebuild the damaged area. After a succession of disasters, thousands of Mennonite volunteers were sent to Washington this week to repair the damage left in the wake of the Trump presidency.
“I’ve responded to many emergencies over the years, such as Hurricane Abe back in ’82, which was devastating,” said Mennonite volunteer Agatha Goossen with tears in her eyes, “but looking at the condition of the White House at the moment, I can safely say I’ve never seen such severe damage. It’s absolutely tragic.”
Some volunteers busied themselves cleaning up the mess, which included massive piles of rubble, debris, and a surprising amount of raw sewage, while others were tasked with rebuilding, which included finding people, anyone really, who were willing to fill quickly-vacating cabinet and advisory positions.
“I can see why these spots are so hard to fill. I mean you’re walking into a mine-field and very few survive,” said Goossen, with sweat rolling down her forehead from all the hard work. “It breaks my heart to see this kind of thing happen to our nation’s capital.”
Goossen says there’s a lot the volunteers can do to repair Washington, but doubts they’re capable of repairing the divided country as a whole.
“We can replace a few politicians. That ain’t hard,” said Goossen. “But restoring the nation to a condition where people can trust what they read, think critically about the world around them, and speak civilly to those who disagree with them–well, we’ll need a lot more volunteers to accomplish that. The work is far from over.”
The Mennonite volunteers plan to be in Washington until the nation is fully restored to a functioning democracy, which they hope will occur sometime within their own lifespans.
(photo credit: Benjamin Davidson/CC/modified)