Tuscaloosa, AL - Habitat for Humanity (Post 2)

Hello all, Shelby here to tell you about our day!

Today, we pulled up to the Habitat site for the first time, excited and ready to start working. The neighborhood our site is in is in the process of being rebuilt completely, being in the 72-mile long path of the 2012 tornado that passed through Tuscaloosa. Habitat has actually built or began building ten houses in an area of two square blocks. The houses are energy efficient, so they are all distinguishable by silver metal roofs (which are recyclable, as opposed to non-renewable, petroleum-based shingles.)

The first task we were assigned to do was insulating the crawlspace under the house. Then, we differentiated into a few different tasks. Some of the group built window boxes for the inside of the house. Some started on a shed for a neighboring lot, and the rest of us began to rake the topsoil around the house to prepare for laying sod. The group that had raked later moved on to painting a second coat on the shed in the backyard. By the end of the day, we had completed the base for the new shed (cement an all), completely painted the extant shed, and completed about ten window boxes for the interior of the house and started trim on them.

Besides the extremely cute puppy that wags at us from our site supervisor, Steven's work truck, my favorite part of the day was getting to meet the homeowner, Cassandra. She is a middle-aged woman with three daughters, one of whom still lives with her. One of her other daughters, along with her husband, are moving into another Habitat lot down the street from Cassandra. Besides the fact that she laughed at my jokes, Cassandra lightened my heart in a number of ways. She graciously shared with us her story and happily told us about her kids and grandkids. Cassandra couldn't wait to have her house ready for her grandson to play in. She also told us how excited she was to finally feel safe in her own house (every Habitat home in the neighborhood is built with a safe room.) This struck me the most—not only are we rebuilding a neighborhood here, but we are helping the people in Tuscaloosa feel safe in their own homes again. Even if we don't get much done that we can see this week, letting Cassandra know that people care about her and her safety will be enough for me.

Now, we are home and our evening activity is watching 'Frozen!' So, gotta go! Olaf is coming on soon.

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