While I was enjoying my second round team, the staff of Habitat for Humanity Saint Vrain, the city of Longmont, and being in Colorado, I was also ready for a change. I'm not sure what's wrong with me and routine, but they don't last. I knew half my team would have loved to stay in Longmont working on these homes until completion, that's not how the program works, we had other places to be. While I was mostly tired of the construction work, waking up and putting on my boots, I wasn't really ready to leave the new friends we had made at each site, both staff and other volunteers.
Having three different work sites and multiple groups of regular volunteers, each of which we worked with on different days, meant that there were a lot of goodbyes. It began the Wednesday before we left when the "Lyons crew" a group of 5-8 (depending on the week) older men, realized it would be their last day working with us. I think we were all sad to leave Lyons, not only did we enjoy the work, but these guys we had been partnered with were pretty darn cool. It was only about a week before that I had discovered Hans used to live in Greendale, just a few miles from my home, small world. They each had a wealth of information to share and different story to tell and I'll miss having them as one of my go-to resources on site.
Our goodbyes with staff and site supervisors were more casual, likely because we all had a sense that we'd be seeing each other again. One time for sure at least, as we've been invited to one of the home dedication in Lyons and are fortunate enough that it falls the day after we return from Missouri. The staff, I'm sure, is used to seeing volunteers come and go, so while they'll miss our extra sets of hands, I don't think they'll be heart broken without us.
The heartfelt goodbye and tears were reserved for someone else, and appropriately came on our last day of work. We were all scheduled to be in Dacono, home of the critical repair projects, and while we were hesitant that we will all be needed / put to use there, we were proved wrong. Over the last six weeks a team has been working on repairs at Graciella's house, a very sweet homeowner and amazing cook. The team has met various members of her family, sets of adorable toddlers and pups which great them every day. I'm not actually sure who grew more attached to the other, the team to the family or the other way around, but finishing our work at Graciella's house made for a good conclusion. The team spent the day removing old and installing new windows, a total of 22, and while the afternoon brought cold weather and a dusting of snow, we managed to get them all done, including the royal purple trim she had selected. Before the snow though, we were presented with a feast of Carne Asada, rice, tortillas, roasted chili's and homemade guacamole. As if the food wasn't enough of a thank you, Graciella's words and tears said it all, it was easy to see how much the team had effected this family, and leaving with that knowledge made all the early mornings and cold days worth it.
After weeks of doing it, I know that construction is not in my future, but on the flip side, seeing the gratitude and appreciation from the homeowners were helping, I know that service will continue to be. Building with Habitat was an amazing opportunity, and something that's been on my 'bucket list' for a long time, allowing me to meet a vast array of people and learn new skills. During project picks for round 2 I was hesitant to take this project, but it's been good to me, albeit a little cold. Moving forward the team is headed to Festus, MO to partner with Disability Resource Association and we're excited. Similar to our connection with Graciella, we'll have the opportunity to connect with homeowners, hear their story and hopefully improve their quality of life through the repairs we complete on their homes. It's guaranteed to be an adventure, but Earth 4 is ready for it.
A Year of Service
My life, being anything but predictable, has taken another turn. Rather than moving to Jeju, South Korea - my original plan for Fall '18, I'm going to test drive Denver, CO and its surroundings, an area people just keep telling me "I'd love".