Friday, September 30, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
For the tenth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, AmeriCorps NCCC members from the North Central Region provided service to the communities surrounding Vinton, IA. Our team was selected to help the Cedar Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity (HFH). When we were first told of this project, we were extremely excited to pay our respect to those that lost their lives by helping build up the community and that we would be working with other NCCC teams from our campus. Specifically for September 10th, our selected service day, HFH was working beautify the exterior of Esther’s home. Esther does not have the financial or physical means to keep the outside of her home in the most pristine condition, so along with HFH, we were glad to help.
Team Leader Darcy painting back of house on scaffolding.
Then I started to think about why I was actually there. It wasn’t to fix up a house damaged by the flood of 2008 in hopes that someone would move in. It wasn’t to practice working with my team so that we can correct any big problems before we drive 600 miles away and live together for six weeks.
We came to this elderly woman’s house on September 10, 2011 in order to put positive energy into the world. We came to show that after ten years, we still remember a terrible tragedy that took place but we will rise above it. We came on this sunny summer day to, as HFH puts it, give a hand-up, not a hand-out. I did not come for myself, I came for someone else.
The most rewarding part of the entire day? When Esther came outside, about an hour before we had finished, and commented on how lovely her house looked. She had been living there since 1974 and never once knew that something like this could happen.
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Sounds like an NCCC rite of passage to me! During our first 2 rounds, Maple 4 had it pretty easyhousing-wise. It's true that in Cincinnati, people shared rooms with up to 3 other people, we had 1bathroom without a shower, and there were mice–mice with gall. But on the flip side, we lived in abeautiful 176-year-old farm house, and had roosters, cows, horses and other farm buddies to hang outwith. In Vinton, we slept on campus. And since our roommates were away on projects with their teams,each person had a bedroom and bathroom to his or herself. SPOILED! 'Tis not the case now, friends.
Currently our humble abode is one room in the YMCA-run Lake Superior Village Youth and FamilyCenter. We snooze on 1-inch thick floor mats with sleeping bags, which we have to move into aseparate room in the morning because our home is also one of our work sites. And all of the what-ifs listed above apply as well. But, you know, it's actually not that bad. In fact, I consider it a badgeof honor to have this type of AmeriPad. The lack of privacy can be frustrating at times, but it'sa character-building experience; and in the end we only have to live like this for a short time. Inexchange for the cramped quarters, we travel the country and get paid to help people, so it's a fair deal.
Here's a couple photos of our set-up. This one shows the mattress pads that Gaby, Hillary and I sleepon. Mine is the one next to the foosball table.
This one shows where Drew and I store our our personal belongings in the community center'scomputer lab. His stuff is on the left under the desk. Mine is on the right. As you can see, I basicallylive out of the red AmeriCorps bag assigned to me at the beginning of the year. Above the desk areteam items such as a huge box of donated noodles and a bag filled with games like Banannagrams andJenga that we never play, except for one time when we didn't have power.
So much stuff and so little space.