Today was our first day working with United Saints. We woke up at 7am to eat breakfast, meet another group of volunteers, and split into different teams. Our group worked on two different houses, building and fixing roofs and painting. We got to meet one of the homeowners, Bruce, who was very welcoming and seemed grateful that we were volunteering to help build a new home for him. He brought us cold drinks and checked to make sure we were doing okay.
Abby and I (Ariya) worked on the lower roof of the house, fitting and nailing plywood to the studs. It took a while to get accustomed to the height, but once we were comfortable, time went by quickly (despite all the splinters!). Anthony and Jordan worked on removing damaged plywood and shingles from the upper roof and got very dirty and tired. The most difficult part of working on the roof was actually getting on and off of the ladder. There was nothing to cling to, so it felt like we could have easily fallen off. But the view was beautiful, and we felt accomplished seeing our progress at the end of our work day.
Cindy and I ( Farhiya) worked on painting the house red and yellow, Mitch joked about how it was nicknamed the Ronald McDonald House. At first we were pretty confused about what to do, but we caught up after lunch and managed to paint the entire side of the house. We were fortunate enough to be in the shade unlike some people, who got very sunburnt *Ahem Ahem, Ariya and Brenden*. Although painting was very tedious, knowing that we were helping Bruce create memories with his family in his new home was motivation.
After we finished working on the house for the day, United Saints served us an amazing dinner of baked and fried chicken, red beans, rice, and salad. The red beans had andouille pork sausage mixed in, and the chicken was seasoned perfectly. It was delicious. We ate so fast that we weren't able to get any pictures of the food.
Many of us plan to work at the same place tomorrow to finish our projects and see how much progress we can make on the house. We will also have the opportunity to work with pets affected by Hurricane Katrina. We're looking forward to tomorrow!
-Ariya and Farhiya