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August 31, 2017

Praying For My City

Houston needs help as we fear the catastrophe could get worse

BY DAMYEAN DOTSON

It seemed like the rain would never end.

For more than four days we went nowhere, my mother, my girlfriend and me. We were holed up in my mother’s house, cut off from loved ones by flooded streets and impassable highways. The sun peeked out yesterday, but we’re still unable to travel far. We worry still about what the next day will bring and wonder how long the misery can go on.

Houston, my city, my hometown, is suffering, and we know we’re among the lucky ones. Our house has not taken on water and the streets around us are not flooded. We still have electricity and running water, and our immediate family is safe. The area we’re in, on the south side near downtown, seems to be doing alright.

I think my friends are safe, too, but I’m not totally sure. I haven’t seen a lot from them on social media, which probably means they’re having trouble with their phones. Maybe they’ve lost service. So we’re all feeling kind of isolated from one another.

The hardest part is knowing that so many people are hurting and to see what is happening to the city. On TV we see that the freeways are overflowing with water. I was supposed to leave for New York yesterday for practice at the Knicks’ training facility, but that was the last thing on my mind.

Our hearts are torn. I want to volunteer to help, but I’ve been concerned about leaving my mother, Lorie, and my girlfriend, Mariah, alone. What if something happens here? What if suddenly they’re in trouble? My mother is afraid. These are hard choices.

 

No Place To Go

In some ways, the nights are the hardest. There’s a bayou running in back of our house, and it’s been taking on water. I’ve been waking at four in the morning to see how far it’s risen. And I look around to see if any part of the house is flooded. The house is just one floor and the area is flat. The way they’re talking about more flash floods, you can’t be certain. We’re walking around nervous all the time.

I’m just praying for Houston and sorry for the families who are going through this tragedy. They warned us, but they didn’t tell us it would be this bad. It hit us quick. It’s not anyone’s fault that they’re still here, but they can’t leave now. It’s too late. We’re praying that they can get to a shelter.

Right now, we’re all gathering up belongings to donate. People will need everything, from baby diapers to toothbrushes to clothes and blankets. School just started, and so all the books and clothes so many of these families just bought are now gone. They’ll need sneakers, shoes, everything. And I know that people are opening up their homes to help the victims.

After the storm hit, I would often step outside to see if anything was changing. I couldn’t believe the rain. It was just constant. It reminded me that things could get worse.

Going forward, Houston needs prayers, and acts of good will. I know that if we all lean on each other, we will make it through.

Damyean Dotson, the Knicks 2017 2nd round draft pick, has lived in Houston his entire life.


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