Sunday, September 2, 2007

HfH update

So, an update on this whole 'Habitat' thing is in order I suppose. Early Tuesday morning we left as a group to go to national orientation for all AmeriCorps HfH peeps in Eatonton, GA. As I made sure to keep my expectations low, I was not disappointed by the trip at all; it actually exceeded some expectations. Every evening there would be ultimate frisbee and breakfast was good. Most other things were either boring, unnecessary, or just plain thilly. I'm pretty sure that everything we did there could have been accomplished much more efficiently, cheaply, and easily at each individual affiliate across the country (HfH International flew most people in to Atlanta to be bussed to Eatonton) as opposed to sending everyone to a central location. Apparently though HfH is very much about nationalizing/standardizing their program as a whole so that's why they brought everyone to nowhere-ville, GA. Although the place where we stayed was owned by UGA; normally it was used as a 4h camp (Rock Eagle). So, in a small way, Jeremy and Kat paid for my orientation.

We got back to Charlotte at 12:30 or 1:00am on Friday morning because we all wanted to sleep in our own beds as opposed to staying another night in the cabins at Rock Eagle, which was a very good decision. Friday was therefore mostly an off day, but we spent the early afternoon buying tools with one of the Construction supervisors (there are 6 'site' supervisors who lead crews of 2 AmeriCorps each). We were given $100 to buy tools on a list. That was fun as I've never bought tools for myself and I got to spend someone else's money, which is always a plus.

Saturday was our first day of real work, as we began our construction training by building the sub-floor of a house. That basically amounts to a shit ton of nailing. The house is - sort of - divided into two halves by sets of parallel beams that in a sense form the backbone of the house. Joists are run down each half (each joist is about 13.5' long and 12" wide) every foot or so on average. In each joist go (on average) about 10-15 nails. There were (wildly guessing here) probably 30-50 joists all told on the house. That's a ton of nails. That's not even counting other random boards that must also get nailed to complete the sub-floor of a house. These aren't even big houses - maybe 1200-1500 square feet, so imagine having to build some 3500 sq ft house... Although they would, of course, be using nail guns, which we have not graduated to yet. The supervisors all wanted to see how we worked around a construction site; how we were with tools, terms, each other, physical labor, etc so they could figure out which AmeriCorps would work best with each other. I'm a pretty good nailer, not gonna lie. The blisters from the day are painful though, as my soft hands are not used to such manly labor. I gotta build up that man strength before I can really consider myself experienced.

We also found out our partners and supervisors on Saturday, so it's nice to know who we'll be spending a lot of time with over the next 11 months or so. It should be fun.

No comments: