Friday was our final day!
Today we poured concrete and it was awesome, backbreaking, and fast-paced work. I can truly appreciate the physical and mental toll the day took on me. It’s important to have those days, they make you feel like you are alive, building character as well as muscles. During lunch we all met up at our site and enjoyed lunch together. Sharon our Habitat coordinator in Yakima made us two cakes and showed her appreciation with putting gummy worms on top! I mentioned to everyone: “Hey, now we’ve all licked/eaten worms!” and Cray-Kay (Kailey) responded, “Haha-No.” Apparently the worm eaters like all their glory! ;D After cake, Harry and Kara presented newspaper clippings, appreciation awards, and a mixed CD and or a long gummy worm for some laughs to all of us CoChall-ers! We all really appreciated their appreciation.
Once the concrete business was complete for the day, we went over to 14th and Willow and helped out our fellow CoChall-ers at Kara’s site. We ended in solidarity and took a few concluding pictures. After that, Kara, Ryan, BJ, and David came over to the church for dinner of tamales and tacos as per our invitation and we had a wonderful meal and game of Mafia afterwards with them. We presented puff painted shirts to our guests and they enjoyed them. Also, our lovely leaders were presented with cards all of us had signed to show our appreciation for them. Kara’s shirt said: Karaoke on the back with a puff-painted tool belt on the back! (how cute!) Harry: The Boss Man. David: D-Boss. Ryan: The Gate-Keeper (because he constructed a metal fence the first day on the site with us). BJ: Double Duty (because he had a job at the hospital too).
Later in the night after we said our sappy and sweet goodbyes with our guests, we had a really awesome and unique reflection. Many of us chatted about the impact the trip has had for us and what/how we can bring what we have learned and experienced to those who inquire about it. Of course it’s been a wild, fun, amusing time with all of our group… but I’ve also learned much about Habitat, housing issues, and the goal of Habitat. It is my duty to spread the word (as accurately as I can) to those interested in Habitat/housing issues. This is important so I can express the amazing quality of the learning-service trip to those who ask and who are interested.
On Saturday morning, Kailey and Kellie made us a delicious, gourmet green pancake breakfast with eggs for St. Paddy’s Day before we headed out to go back to campus. Around 2:30pm today we all arrived safe, unharmed and sleepily on campus. We parted ways with the knowledge in our hearts that we will have a reunion banquet soon and that we would be exchanging pictures and numbers on a Facebook group soon. Some of us had withdrawals of each other later in the day and ate dinner at the commons because we weren’t ready to hang out with “real people” yet.
Keep all your spirits thriving,
When we asked our site manager, Harry, if our group of volunteers were the weirdest he’d ever worked with, he responded, “Oh yeah.” Then Kellie, one of our co-coordinators, replied nodding in return, “Oh yeah, we truly keep CoChall weird.”
Today has been a truly weird day. First off, three crew members cut down a tree on our site. Kailey (Cray-Kay), Sally (Sassy Pants), and Kellie (newly dubbed “Wormy”) got all excited about killing a tree that needed to come down according to Harry. I was disappointed, but what can I say, I’m a nature lover! As the morning progressed, we started getting restless and a few of us: Sally, Kelly, Laura, Jeff, BJ (another awesome volunteer) and Kailey, all started to get worm crazy. What I mean by that was that Kelly ate her first worm (swallowed it) and then many others followed! I only smooched the worm with my fellow site mate and Fields Hall friend Sarah W. It was pretty adorable. I channeled Katy Perry when I started singing later in the day, “I kissed a worm and I liked it!” We played a few rounds of Silent Football during our lunch break and while waiting for the inspector and a few of us got demerits. Demerits are like punishments if you mess up during the game. Those with demerits had to do “butt squiggles.” Butt squiggles are just movements of your behind in the shape of letters of a word or words the punishers decide. Many of us got the number of demerits required to do butt squiggles so we ended up all squiggling it up for “CoChall Yakima” (I don’t know if they took pictures or videoed… I hope it was just pictures!). After that we were planning on pouring concrete but we didn’t get to because everything was running a little late. Tomorrow we are just waking up extra early to get to the site by 8:30am and pour by 9 or 9:30am.
We finished up at our site early because of concrete issues (haha, that was punny) and headed over to the other side off 14th street and helped our other Yakima buddies with their tasks. We finished at 4pm and some went to the YMCA to shower, some went shopping (me, Sally, Valerie, Tyler O., and Sarah W.) and we planned out the rest of our meals off of our budget! We at a delicious dinner of pesto pasta, salad, and some side bread, and we enjoyed delicious cookie brownies that Sarah W., Sally, and I made together! In between dinner and dessert we had a good reflection about the day and puff painted team shirts! We made some shirts for our site managers/other fellow week-long volunteer friends like David, Ryan, Kara, and Harry. We are going out to dinner with them tomorrow night to a Mexican restaurant and will present them the shirts then! We all puff painted our Habitat for Humanity shirts we received for free in our welcome goodie bags our first day. We included things like “Yakima 2012″ and our nicknames and doodles on the back of our shirts. The night concluded with a fun game of Mafia and lots of excitement, “death,” frustration, and amusing tension. It’s just a game… that’s just what you have to tell yourself!
What a week it’s been! We have our final full day tomorrow and the site on 5th St. and Willow. Thank you to all of you readers of this blog. Thank you for your support throughout our journey and thank you for helping guide, support, bless, teach, raise the people that I have gotten to know these last couple days. Who knew we’d all be this close by the end of the trip. From awkward car rides to ridiculous jokes, weird accents, singing, dancing, worm eating, butt squiggling, and much much more, we are close now. We are connected through this trip. We will never forget this trip, and this trip with have a positive ripple effect on the service and leadership we involve ourselves with in the future. We are changed (in small ways and in larger ways) and we also have the ability to evoke, provoke, and inspire change within our own lives, with our own friends, and within our communities. This trip has been amazing and it’s not even over yet!
On another note… CoChall Yakima in the news: today our two construction sites were interviewed by KNDO (NBC news). Adrienne (“Stitch”) and Becca (“Narcky”) were interviewed by the news crew but many of their responses and words were cut short by editing. Becca talked about how we weren’t here for the publicity but rather to work with community members and make a positive impact in the community. Adrienne talked about how the family was volunteering on the site as how they and the neighbors were helping out. The two found it a bit frustrating that their words were cut because it truly showed how media sets their own agenda and skews how they tell stories.
Again, thank you all… and another tidbit of news… all our nicknames have been chosen!
Jeff: J-Low, Tyler: Tweety Byrd, Danniel: Cleatus Maximus, Jorge: RPS (aka “Rockie” (Rock Paper Scissors), Tyler O.: Cooties, Laura: Hammie (or Hammer Time), Sarah S: Drill Bit, Valerie: DA Law, Sarah T: Dobby, Sarah W.: Philosoraptor, Sally: Sassy Pants, Adrienne: Stitch, Becca: Narcky, Kellie: Wormy, Kailey: Cray-Kay, me (Alexa): The Beav (aka Eager Beaver), and Lupita: The Riddler.
Open minds, open hearts, and open hands… to fill with a hammer and nail,
Alexa & the CoChall Yakima crew
Hello again! Rebecca and Adam here!
We realized that in the previous post, there wasn’t much explanation about Habitat for Humanity and about the wonderful work the organization does. We could go on forever about it, but we believe that the video below sums everything up perfectly. For those who are not familiar with the organization, we hope you take the time to watch this video. It is truly amazing and inspiring:
Yesterday, March 14th, after a long day of working at the site, our group was invited to eat dinner with the Habitat staff at the Spokane office. There, we talked about the significant amount of poverty that is in our country and worldwide and about the many situations that can lead to individuals and families dipping below the poverty line.
Today, the group was again split among the two duplexes. There was plenty of flooring, painting, reinforcing, and hammering to go around. We were able to meet more of the homeowners, which was extremely inspiring. I believe I can speak for everyone when I say that meeting such wonderful people helps to keep us going and reminds us that what we do has meaning. We were invited to have dinner with people of the Spokane community at the Salvation Army where we are staying. It was a very positive and fun experience with tons of good food and BINGO!
All of us are now getting ready for bed and preparing for another full day of hard work! As one person stated, Habitat does not give hand outs, but rather hand ups – they help to empower people and help bring them to a more healthy, positive life.
Did you all get that? ;-)
Our fourth day was pretty great- very productive, very tiring! Sore muscles and droopy eye lids are the norm now! Our group has been officially split into two sites because that is where we are needed. We are bummed about being split but have grown fond of our own construction sites and enjoy the work we get to do there. For the second day in a row, we have worked on our separate sites. Not only are we helping multiple families this week,but at lunch today, we reunited with our entire group and we met a family that was going to be living in the home next to the site we were working on (two houses are being built on one corner property). The family brought us lots of pizza, home made banana bread, and beverages. They shared their story with us-and we got insight and a visual image of a family who was getting the kind of houses were were helping build. Our group got to see their appreciation and the possibility of hope for their and their child’s future.
CoChall Yakima in the news:
Today’s excitement on the news!! (some of our group members/group leaders talking about our trip)
Us in video on the news!
Alexa & Crew
This morning we decided to stay on the building sites we worked on the previous day. We all have a “connection” with our building sites, so we did not mix up the teams and go to different homes. Today on my team’s building site we painted diesel onto wood boards. The painters put on white astronaut suits to protect their clothes and skin. They looked like life-size Pillsbury Dough Boys or astronauts. It was hilarious! Then we secured the wood boards into the foundation with metal plates and over 600 nails into the wood boards.
For lunch we drove across town to the other building site, so we could all eat lunch together. At the site we were able meet a family that is going to receive a Habitat home. We briefly talked to the husband and he explained that his family wanted a Habitat house for their little girl. He wants a safe place for his little girl to grow up and play. The husband and the wife are super kind and giving. They brought us warm pizza for lunch, which we easily devoured in less than ten minutes. While this family waits for their Habitat home to be built, they are helping build their neighbor’s Habitat home. Meeting the family was an eye opening experience because it made the effects of our work more tangible and real. I am so happy that this young family is receiving a Habitat home!
After lunch we were all getting a little tired and loopy from the diesel fuel. I knew something was wrong, when over half our group licked a worm for fun! I am excited for lasagna tonight and to see what tomorrow will bring.
By 9:30 am our team was ready and eager to build a house. We were a little disappointed to discover that our Habitat team would be split up onto two housing sites. However, we quickly recovered from our disappointment because we remembered that we were here to serve Yakima County.
At the site my team worked on, we leveled the wood frames for the foundation and then poured the concrete in between the frames. Helping with the early stages of building this home was a very rewarding experience. Our team was able to recognize that we are leaving a lasting impact on the Yakima community. This house will provide shelter and comfort for several generations of families.
For dinner we devoured pancakes, sausage, and eggs. Every night we have a group reflection and play games… the perfect ending to each day. We are feeling a little sore, but ready to put up some walls tomorrow!
The sky was gloomy and snow began to fall as we arrived at the Habitat building site. Harry, the Habitat contractor, explained to us that we could not lay down the foundation on this building site because there was a chance of rain. We were quickly rerouted to another Habitat site a few blocks away.
The neighborhood of the housing site was very rundown. Stray dogs and graffiti were scattered through out the streets. Once we made it to the new building site we met BJ and Ryan. They volunteer in their spare time to help build Habitat houses. BJ and Ryan are really awesome because they are super patient with us. We nailed up molding, installed closet doors, and cut wood siding.
For lunch all seventeen of us crammed into one bedroom to stay warm. We even had people sitting in the closet! This was my favorite part of the day because we were all together. When we left in the afternoon, we could clearly see the difference that our team made in just one day.