From the very first day in Denver, this experience has been a complete whirlwind. Finding out our roommates, our units, and our first temporary teams were just some of the surprises of the first several days on campus. Each day was something new and often unexpected. For the first month in NCCC we had daily classes detailing our basic safety, diversity, first aid, and other training. Although some sessions were less than riveting, we learned valuable information that we'd need out on spike and we had a lot of team-building time.
After the reveal of our final teams and our first spike project assignment things shifted gears. We started focusing our efforts into spike prep, which included checking out dishes, safety gear, tools, and sleeping bags, along with researching the area and the background of the project. We also took time to really get to know the 10 other people we would be spending the next 10 months with by taking a day trip to Boulder and writing our team charter, which laid out our expectations of living and working together.
Before we knew it, we were off to Lafayette, Louisiana and a three-day trip in a 15-passenger van with all 11 teammates. It was surprisingly less stressful than I had anticipated. We spent the night in hotels in Texas along the way and learned more and more about our team as the days passed.
For the last two weeks we've worked with Habitat for Humanity building three houses in the area for survivors of Hurricane Katrina who have been relocated to Lafayette. During our first week, about 60 Job Corps members were on site with us. Although I am admittedly not at all experienced with construction, the project has certainly been a great learning experience. On a daily basis I find myself understanding more and more about the building process. Our site supervisors are extremely knowledgeable and wonderful about letting us know exactly how to perform every task we're assigned.
Generally, I would say that the experience so far has been chaotic in the best way possible. Every day is different and I am constantly learning things about not only construction but about my amazing teammates.