Thursday, June 26, 2008

Build day #4 - mud fight!!

Today we began applying the first of three layers of "mud" (concrete) to the house....this was tough tough work on a hot hot day.

We spent the day split into 3 groups... Mixers, applyers and assistants. I was an "applyer". We had to first put up scaffolding and start from the top down. Some of this group started on the roof, I started at the top of the house with peggy, mel and Roger (the foreman). Mixers mixed cement in the mixer, assistants handed buckets of "mud" to us on the scaffolding, we took the heavy buckets and emptied them onto a piece of wood and scooped it up onto what we called palettes but there is probably a more manly name for it (*we did find out later that they are called hawks).. We used a trowel to spread the mud up on the house. Awkward at first to balance up above and to spread the mud onto the house but it was literally like icing a cake after a few tries. We finished one layer on one wall by lunch time. We finished another wall by the time we left for the day - even working a little overtime in order to get it done. Learning these skills has been a priceless experience.
Lunch was pizza from Outback Pizza where we had dinner a few nights ago. The pesto parmesan dressing is something I need to learn how to make. :)
At 5:45 we got home, covered in cement mud, exhausted, sweaty, smelly and sunburned and had to quickly shower and join Althea (the homeowner) and HFH worker Paul and his wife for dinner at our lodge. Althea made frito pie - think what sloppy joes are to burgers... Frito pie is to tacos. It was basically spicy chili over fritos covered with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Unfortunately, Seda was unable to join Althea and our team for dinner, but her mom was able to tell us a little more about her: Althea did not know that her baby would be born without a brain until she was born and the doctors told her she had two choices: the staff could withhold food and water from the baby or Althea could take her, knowing that she would likely die at a young age and would always be severly handicapped. Althea said there was never a choice in her mind.Seda's full name is Seda Agua McClunky... Seda is the spanish name for silk (Althea used to work with silk on a loom). The man who fathered her was hispanic and Althea wanted to be sure Seda was connected to her heritage even though her father was not a part of her life.
Seda attended regular public school through 2nd grade. She attended regular classes with regular kids. Sadly, the aide that worked with her, was inappropriate with her and Althea chose to pull her out of school to be home schooled.
Seda sleeps only 3-4 hours in a night and typically only sleeps 2 nights a week. So she is up for the remaining 160 hours (thus the need for 24 hour care. She is prone to seizures and sleeps in her mother's bed with her so she can deal with the seizure if Seda has one.It is amazing to me how genuinely happy Althea is even though she has such a difficult life. She is happy, appreciative, and has so much love for her daughter and her life in NM. She volunteers with an advocacy group for the disabled and travels around the country to share her stories.The new house will have handicapped access, a specially set up bathroom and a bedroom with room for TWO beds. We were so happy to spend this time with Althea and each story she told made us want to be advocates for her and Seda.
Let this story remind us all how lucky we are. Our lives are good! I hope these stories will help you to want to do something, even something small for someone who needs it. It's great for them but you will get such a boost, too.
Tomorrow an early (7:15) start, working a 1/2 day with a 1/2 day of free time to shop or attend the Solar Music Festival.Very sleepy so I must go for now.
More from me tomorrow....XxooLisa

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