When I got the message, I was laying on my friends’ couch, soaking up the first air conditioning I had felt in over 80 hours. Going that long without air conditioning in the south isn’t a joke in the summer. You feel like you’re slowly melting without the frosty bliss of a functioning air conditioner. Hurricane Issac had crawled through Louisiana at a snail’s pace several days before, toppling 100 year old oaks into power lines all over New Orleans and leaving more than 80% of its citizens without power, including me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but heat exhaustion had wiped me out and I could barely paw at the smart phone I was borrowing to check my email. But then I saw it, the email from Mama Hope. I had gotten into the First Fifth program! I was going to be a Global Advocate! I had been following the program for years, waiting for the program to open up for application, and I had gotten in.
That got me up off the couch and hobbling across my friends’ apartment to share the news! From what I understand my explanation wasn’t fully comprehensible at the time, but my friends joined me in my celebration anyway before I went to lay back down lest I keel over.
I spent most of the rest of the evening in a haze, probably from the heat exhaustion, but I kept going back to the email, reading and rereading it with a smile on my face.
The next day dawned as it is wont to do, bringing with it restored power and a city mired in tree limbs and stopped services. But for me it was a whole new day; it was the start of a new life.