One of the pieces of writing I’ve got sitting in the back of my mind is a call for TAZ participants to treat the experience as a shamanic experience and bring something of value back to the real world. I may never attend Burning Man again. What I really want to do is bring the lessons learned from Black Rock City and apply them to the environment around me. Here are a group of Burners who are doing just that:
This week the Viking Youth Power Hour is joined by water department spokesman, and Burning Man Information Radio’s volunteer, Tom LaPorte.
Tom recently made a trip down to Pearlington, Mississippi where he spent a week with the victims of Hurricane Katrina and a group of Burning Man participants who, after the burn this year, picked up and moved their playa-based operation to Pearlington in order to help provide food, fire, demolition services and the unique burner sense of community service and dedication to work. Calling themselves Burners Without Borders, this group has dedicated the better part of the last 8 months to sharing the skills they have honed on the playa with the people of first Biloxi – rebuilding a Buddhist Temple – and now Pearlington.
We discuss the heartbreaking loss Tom witnessed while he was down there, but also the inspiring perspectives of people who were forced to rebuild their lives from amongst the rubble of what was once their beloved town.
We are offered a rare opportunity as Tom gives us the first chance to hear some of the interviews he collected while in Pearlington and that he will be using as part of his hour long radio documentary which will be published later this month.
It’s incredible to see the ethos and the elbow grease so many of us experience on the playa validating itself and coalescing in a kind of service that may become increasingly necessary in the coming years. Of all our work to date, this is perhaps the Viking Youth episode that has made me most proud. Our hearts and our hope go out to all the victim’s of Hurricane Katrina and all the wonderful people helping these people to put their lives together again stronger than it was before.