At 8:30 pm on Sept. 11, 2008, two buses pulled up to AB3 at Sam Houston State University carrying 49 international students and six chaperones from the University of Houston Clear Lake. The usual two-hour drive had taken five hours, and everyone was tired, hungry, and more than a little anxious. Some of the students had only arrived in this country two weeks prior to the evacuation. No one really knew what to expect.
Then the wonderful people in AB3 took the situation in hand. Student volunteers took the group to Belvin Cafe, where we all had a hot meal. Afterwards, Dean Jaimie Hebert and his staff made us feel welcome by extending their friendship and support, and by answering our questions. So we began our five-day stay at SHSU.
The days were structured around the meal schedule at Belvin and the availability of showers at the gym. In between, there was always a movie and popcorn in the theatre, or a card game to join. But the best parts of the days were spent in getting to know the folks from SHSU. The faculty, staff and student volunteers immediately and repeatedly showed us great kindness. When there were too few FEMA blankets, our hosts brought bedding from home to supplement. When our clothes got dirty, our hosts helped us with laundry. When we needed transportation, there was always a driver available. Many of our students are vegetarians, and the staff at Belvin worked extra to accommodate their needs, even providing some Indian dishes. When boredom became overwhelming, the dance students taught us some country line dances. Even as the situation began to worsen in Huntsville, the evacuation team in AB3 continued to care for our physical and emotional needs. Words cannot express the gratitude we all feel for the way we were treated by the SHSU community. Dean Hebert and his team in AB3 are really the very best!
UHCL Chaperones for Hurricane Ike Judy Bergman, Kent and Angelica Divoll, Jerry Jones, Kara Kurczeski, Sean Murphy.