Guest Blog by Joe Milton
Twin Cities Habitat Construction Volunteer Facilitator
The sunrise of February 4 rose from the beautiful mountains in the East. The Habitat volunteers woke up with excitement knowing they would make another great stride in building a new home for a wonderful family. People trickled into the hotel cafeteria enthralled by the fresh fruit, warm coffee, and various other healthy delights that awaited them. By 8:30 am, everyone had gathered into the lobby area. Shortly a stunning young man lead the group of volunteers in some yoga. Once everyone felt fully stretched and relaxed, the energetic volunteers left the hotel and ventured out towards the work site for the day. The forecast predicted a temperature in the mid to late 70s all day.
The first group seized the opportunity to paint and mud the interior and exterior walls of a rural house deep in the Dominican countryside. This group decided to go for it! The paint applied to the house was an eccentric, lovely peach color. A local leader, nicknamed Suave, gave the group encouragement throughout the day. In Spanish, the word “suave” means smooth. The Habitat group quickly realized that his personality was just as smooth as his paint brush.
The second group of Habitat volunteers assembled the house with heavy concrete slabs. It was delightful to have four strong, confident Dominican instructors with us. The four men were able to lift the slabs like pillows. It was quite impressive to the Minnesotans. Each slab weighed between 50-80lbs. In order to get those slabs aligned correctly, the concrete floor of the house had to be chiseled in a nice pattern. If not, the slabs would not align with the floor at a 90 degree angle. It was quite project and a great workout!
Throughout the day, the Minnesotans were coating their skin with multiple layers of greasy sunscreen. Sometimes it was hard to figure out if the Habitat group was getting paler or darker due to the heavy amounts of sunscreen being applied. Towards the end of the day, everyone was happy with the work that was accomplished. We look forward to what comes next!