Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Build Day 2 - Fiberglass and Caulking are the name of the day

Last night it snowed here in Kilmarnock, VA.  It was a heavy, wet snow which resulted in lots of slush but by this morning it was all gone and only left lots of run-off which made the jobsite a little wet and muddy.  Today there were inside jobs and under the house jobs.  I know that Tom Feltmate and Jim Wignall will be able to relate to the dirty under the house jobs!  With this house, there is a poured concrete floor which is different from the past houses which only had dirt floors in the crawl space.  And although the concrete floor sounds like it would be an improvement (which it is) it was VERY dusty work.  Thank goodness for face masks!

Another group spent the day indoors caulking and painting the baseboards that were installed yesterday.  The day ended with a team trip to the dump to empty out the trailer so we can fill it up tomorrow when we are working at the ReStore here in town.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the local Mexican restaurant Los Patrones with some of the Habitat folks.  The night ended with our group sharing time with some brainstorming for our service preparation to be presented on April 15 and our letter from home was written by Ruth Sword.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Build Day 1 - was all about mitre joints and coping

This year mark the first that the local affiliate have worked with a pre-fab home which allows them to complete a build more quickly which in turn means that they can increase the number of homes they can build on an annual basis.  House #19 is located in White Stone, VA which is a short drive from Kilmarnock.  The home, on Buttercup Lane is also a larger model than normal (around 1500 sq. ft. instead of the usually 1100 - 1200 sq.ft) as the new homeowner, a single mom, has 4 children and a grandson planning to live in the home.  Since the new homeowner has been waiting 3 years to get her house, she has been able to save some money and invest it in the house with some upgrades and the bigger model.

The crew spent today installing baseboards, ceiling fans and interior door handles.  There was lots of "show me" moments shared among the team.  There were youth showing adults and adults showing youth how to complete tasks that were being asked of them.  Many of the youth on the trip have taken tech classes and are very well trained and capable in the work we were doing today.  Mitered corners and coping corners were the challenges for today.  There was plenty of brain power being used to make sure the baseboards were being cut with the correct 45 degree angles and the finesse required to get a good coping cut to make the joins seamless....there are a few that might need a little extra caulk to make them seamless but for the most part, they team did a great job.

Allan & Jason were busy putting up the ceiling fans in the children's bedrooms and the main living area.  They completed the task without shocking results. 

Once the baseboards were completed, it was on to the installation of dummy door handles on all the closets.  Lots of measuring, the use of levels and a little faith helped with the installation.

This evening, it started to snow here in VA, something which was a first for me on a Habitat trip.  I am told it snowed a little last year but not as much as it did this year.  We had a wonderful dinner at NN Burger, a fantastic, community supporting small business with great food, good milkshakes and a staff that were very attentive.  I think the youth (and a big kid) enjoyed their milkshakes which came topped with whipped cream, a rice krispie triangle and some other sweet treats.

We finished the evening with a game of mexican train, hearts and a letter from home from Joanne Boisjoli.

Church and the Beach

Wow.  What a church service that was!  Today we had the pleasure of worshiping with the congregation of Mount Olive Baptist Church.  They were so welcoming and appreciative to have us with them.  What the congregation lacked in numbers, they made up in exuberance, praise and commitment to Jesus.  The music from the men's chorus was incredible and had us on our feet, tapping our toes, clapping our hands and praising God.  We have a DVD that we hope to share so you can experience just a little of what we did.  The Pastor even invited our minister to come down and preach next year...... 

After church we went for a drive around town to show the "new" folks all the houses we have had a hand in building.  They all looked great and well taken care of.  We then headed to the beach in White Stone for our annual "jump" photo as well as a quick walk about.  Jelly fish, lots of oyster shells and visual clues of the magnitude of the recent weather on the local shoreline.

The team then made their way up to Huglett Nature Reserve for a hike through the woods and back along another larger section of beach.  It was a nice walk, albeit a little cool with the winds off the water.

We shared a wonderful meal at the hotel of individual salads and pizza - nothing fancy but a great time to share fellowship.  We followed up with a great game of paper telephone (which was a first for many) and a building challenge with Lego.  The colourful creations were well thought out and each came with a detailed explanation.

We ended our evening with our letter from home which was written by Carl Smith.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 2 - another travelling day....but one that showed lots of promise

We were up and on the road just after 8:00 a.m. today.  Everyone in their respective vans, the sun was shining and only a few clouds in the sky - a great relief from the snow showers that were happening last night.  The driving conditions were good and the company grand. 

As our journey progressed southward the snow on the ground started to disappear, the temperature gauge on the dashboard started to rise, the motorcycles started to appear on the roads, the daffodils started to appear in the ditches and the road kill started our annual game of RK Bingo!  What would a habitat trip be without that!

There were plenty of signs of God's blessings today.  Many live wildlife viewings today.  There were a number of hawks in the trees along the highway, a bald eagle, some deer, and plenty of buzzards.  I felt a sense of renewal and the promise of spring as the grass was greening up, the early signs of crops in the field, the blooming flowers and the budding and blossoming trees.....it's coming, I promise. Even the billboards were reminding us of God's promises.  And even some witty church signs along the way.

One thing that was missing today was the sounds of the spring peepers out behind the hotel.  It is still a little cool here at night so they must still be in their winter sleep.  Maybe by the end of the week they will have started sharing their ear piercing song.

We are off to worship with the congregation of  Mount Olive Baptist Church tomorrow. We have been here before and are always transformed and enlightened by their worship.  Everyone is looking forward to it.  I am sure we will have some stories to share tomorrow.

Off to bed, with the loss of an hour, tomorrow morning will come quickly.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Wow, it has been three years since I have written here in this blog.  In 2016 we didn't have a trip and in 2017 I was attending a wedding in the Dominican Republic and Bev decided to share their journey on Facebook instead.  This year we will try and do both!

2018 is a milestone year.  This will be our 10th trip to the small town of Kilmarnock, VA - WOW, 10 years.  That means by then end of this week we will have helped put the roof over the heads of 10 families with 10 unique stories, 10 handmade quilts (thank you KUC Quilters) and 10 years of friendship with the locals who have become like family. 

We are a small group this year with only 11 of us.  This year the adults actually outnumber the youth which hasn't happened in a while - last year there were 12 youth!  Within the group there are three people who will experience the trip for the first time.  Through fresh eyes, a different perspective, a sense of awe and wonder.  It's always exciting to see people experience this journey for the first time.  I am sure this year will be no different.

We left Ottawa as the snow was falling and it followed us most of the way down to Dickson City, PA.  The streamers of snow came and went sporadically throughout the drive.  Thankfully the roads were clear and remained that way.  As I write though, there are big flakes falling from the sky. Hopefully those will be all gone before our morning drive starts again.

A quiet night with a reflection of Bev and her "wandering heart" which we have been tasked to share amongst ourselves throughout the week.  Sharing love and kindness with each other, thanking each other for the "little" things that are so important.  Being present in the moment.  Listening to that still small voice that is within us all.  May we be so grateful for the gifts we have been given.

Friday, March 20, 2015

We made the local paper

Here is the article that was in the local paper here in Kilmarnock.


Siding, roofing and more concrete!

Another sunny day met us this morning, albeit a cool one. There were lots of odd jobs to do today.  A group took to the roof to get a section of that completed. The youth continued their cement making skills to pour the last of the footings for the back deck (that now included a "loonie") and a group helped put up the tents for tomorrow's groundbreaking ceremony for house #18.  We also worked on cleaning up the debris around the site as the Mayor of Kilmarnock will be attendance tomorrow too.

Ranesha and Jentre were onsite today and we presented them with the quilt and some Canada t-shirts for the kids.  They loved it.  Thank you to the KUC quilting group who so lovingly prepare and provide us with the quilts every year.

In the afternoon, we were John's guests at his beautiful home on the Potomac River.  He cooked up a wonderful lunch and we lounged around the outdoor fireplace.

This evening we were hosted at an open house at the local Chamber of Commerce.  The youth were presented with certificates highlighting their volunteer hours.

The overnight is supposed to bring rain so building might be a wash tomorrow until the ceremony at noon.  We will start the journey home around 1pm and spend the night in Harrisburg.