Columbia, SC - Habitat for Humanity (Post 4)

Howdy, everybody! This is Nathan (Norm) and Rachel (Renaenae) checking in this penultimate day of service. For the second day in a row, the morning started with a failed coffee run as Emma and Alex could not muster our tired support, but once 7:45am rolled around, we shot out of our air mattresses with excitement to start serving. We ate breakfast on the go as we drove forty-five minutes to a new worksite.

Today we worked on a rehabilitated dentist office. This site is one of the few Habitat properties on which our affiliate has foreclosed in thirty years of operation. When we arrived at the site, there was a pond in the yard being drained. We came dressed to work in the swamp, but ultimately our work consisted of interior projects. Working inside was a welcomed surprised as cold Missouri weather has followed us all the way to South Carolina (began the day at twenty seven degrees).

We broke into several teams to prepare the house for new carpeting. Jessica, Nathan, and Emma caulked every crack and cranny of the house while Bailee, Alex, and Rachel followed them with a clean coat of paint. John and Bakke saved the day by crawling into the tiniest of crawl spaces and replaced a joist beam that supports the foundation. Bob and Richard swept away our worries and sawdust. Tim the Toolman took Connor under his wing to build some good-looking porch rails.

Meanwhile, we sent Maddie with Emily from Habitat to visit potential homeowners. These visits embody the Mizzou Alternative Breaks principle "Serve, Don't Help." Maddie shared her experience with us, and what resonated within our group was that Habitat strives to set their partners on a path to success. Maddie and Emily screened two applicants: an older woman and a single mom with two kids. The purpose of the visit was to determine need, willingness to partner, and to give applicants an opportunity to advocate for themselves. Maddie concluded that the mom with two kids and a less stable living environment had a greater need and saw how much the family could benefit from the partnership. In our reflection time, Maddie shared that the visit was a humbling experience.

For lunch we returned to the Habitat ReStore. We feasted on Subway before diving into the rest of our work at the store. To start, it was cold. It was breezy, but once our work began, we shed our layers and warmed ourselves in service. We split into three teams. One built foundations for new dividers in the donation reception area. Another group finished the dividing walls we put up Monday, and the rest of us build walls for the front office with Cole (who has a famous son…google "glasses for Noah"). At the same time, Rachel left with Emily to make another home visit. This wrapped up our work at ReStore. We left proud and feeling accomplished for the contributions we made thus far in the week.

And so our day began. We left ReStore immediately for the showers and were on campus by 5:00pm to meet the University of South Carolina's us (AASB). We went to make connects with another student advancement group, and the visit exceeded all of our expectations. We learned southern hospitality exists as they freed their afternoon to guide us on an unofficial tour of campus. We barraged them with questions, testing their knowledge. After the tour we returned to the interim Alumni Center ($26 million one on the way) where they greeted us with a Salsarita's catered meeting. While food was definitely a highlight (Nathan had three plates), we left even more satisfied by the new ideas generated through attending one of their organization's meetings. By attending this meeting, we learned the value of an MAB partnership trip. Not only have we given back to the community. We are also bringing ideas home that will better our organization.

After a full day, we returned to home base to have a meeting of our own. Our reflection became a AASB brainstorm session/meeting, which will hopefully generate positive changes in our own organization. Then we jumped into our actual reflection time and again said how much Matt, Steve, Cole, and Talisha have followed the MAB principle of "communicate love." Their patience, willingness to teach, flexibility, and positivity have influenced us to bring the same attitude home.

As our last day of service looms, we feel blessed for our lives at home and this opportunity to serve, but we better go to bed to really "nail" our last day.

Renaenae and Norman

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