Monday, June 23, 2008

The first build day (aka "ouch!")

Hi again,

So today we actually began using power out world! I used a power drill to work on interior framing, also hammered nails to hold wire "netting" to the outside of the house. This netting (lathe) is what will hold the clay/stucco to the house. Two habitat groups have worked on the house before us and we expect to full sheet rock and stucco the house before the end of our trip. We are building an Adobe style house - typical for this area of the US. The term "adobe" refers to the bricks made of clay/mud and straw that bulk up the interior walls. Adobe allows the home to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. This house's walls hold 1,800 14"x10"x4" bricks at the cost of about $1.30/per brick. Apparently they are extremely time consuming/difficult to make.

We met the owner of the home today (Althea) and learned the story of her situation. She is the director of a program for handicapped adolescents in NM. She also does a lot of volunteer work and doesn't have much of a salary coming in. She is a single mom with a 12 year old daughter (Seda) who has encephalitis (from what I understand, she was born without a full brain, only a brain stem, and is lucky to have lived this long.) She is severly disabled, in a wheelchair, is fed through a feeding tube and has very little brain function. Althea has a friend who is a social worker, Tom, who works with Seda on a regular basis. Tom is also volunteering with us to help build the house. He gave us some background on Althea and got choked up after talking about what an amazing kid Seda is. We look forward to meeting her in person on Thursday when we have dinner with them.

After an hour or so of rest, we are heading to dinner as a group and will hear more about the schedule for the rest of the week.We were too busy for fun stuff today but I hope to have more funny stories again tomorrow! We build for 5 hours then go to a Native American corn festival - apparently a very sacred event for this particular tribe. No cameras allowed!

Talk soon,

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