Thursday, August 20, 2009

Habitat for Humanity in Harwich

As I mentioned yesterday, I had the opportunity to work on my first Habitat for Humanity site through a company volunteer day. I definitely was feeling a bit grumpy this morning since I had to get up at 5:30 am to make it to the Harwich, Cape Cod site by the 8 am start.

I instantly was in a more chipper mood once I arrived - while typical Habitat for Humanity sites tend to be scattered in different locations, they actually were building eight out of the 13 homes in this housing development:

Here's a close-up of one of the homes - each Habitat for Humanity house had a little sign that announces what organizations are sponsoring that particular home (usually religious organizations and churches):
What was neat about our volunteering day was that some of the actual homeowners were working alongside us - it was neat to hear how excited they were about seeing and participating in the construction of their affordable housing.
When faced with power tools and siding, I took the easy route out - painting! My group was responsible for priming and painting sideboards:

This was more work than it sounds like - we had to lug large pieces of board to our sawhorses, apply primer, flip the board and apply more primer and then carry the board to the drying racks. This process was repeated with a layer of paint. What made this task hard was the fact that the boards were so big and heavy that it took two of us to carry and maneuver each piece:

Did I mention how hot it was? We were all sweating within minutes of arriving (mind you, this was at 8 am on the Cape!) Armed with sunscreen and a hat, I still managed to get a light sunburn. However, I must say that my team bonded over griping about the heat and our general state of grubbiness. This is a view of my poor shorts after a priming session.

Overall, although I was worn out and dying to take a shower at the end of the day, I definitely had a sense of satisfaction from doing manual labor and seeing the fruit of my labor actually help someone. I'm glad that my company has a strong commitment to employee volunteerism and I'm looking forward to participating in more opportunities like this.

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