Habitat for Humanity Kauai Trip- Day 2

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 2
Have you ever woken up to a Rooster crow?  I hadn’t before this trip and I never want to again.  I once heard that waking up to the sound of a beeping alarm is too harsh for our brains, we should instead be woken up by soft tones like a harp.  Being jolted awake at 2am by a squawking monster is the epitome of a harsh wake up call.  And the dumb birds don’t just call once at dawn like Rock-a-doodle taught me as a child, they crow non-stop.  All day.  Add this kind of a wake up to the fact that I’m already not a morning person and we’re lucky that I didn’t bite the head off of any of my teammates!

Group breakfast was interesting.  I sat at the kitchen table eating my hard-boiled egg and greek yogurt while my brain was working it’s way out of a tired travel haze and enjoyed observing the 12 other people I’d be living with for the next 2 weeks.  It occurred to me then how odd this whole thing is.  13 strangers who willingly choose to travel countless hours to live with each other and build a house for another set of strangers.  I couldn’t help but smile.  None of us knew each other, we didn’t know yet if we liked the same music or shared the same hobbies but we were all comfortably eating breakfast together like this was just another day.  So wonderfully odd.

After breakfast our team leader led us in a reflection.  Just a little daily affirmation of why we were doing what we were and how much it mattered in the grand scheme.  Then the volunteer coordinator from Kauai’s local Habitat for Humanity affiliate came over to start our orientation.  Mostly housekeeping type of stuff and of course the important reminder to wear sun block so that we didn’t bake ourselves in the bright Hawaiian sun.  Then we loaded into the Habitat van and headed down to the ReStore.  Do you know about Habitat ReStores? I didn’t until I moved to Bham because our local store is down the street from my office.  It’s basically a thrift store for home improvement items.  Some locations like the one in Kauai also have other items for sale but I think here on the mainland they’re primarily building supplies.  Bham’s ReStore has everything from really nice glass paneled front doors to paint to that screw I needed to finish putting together my dresser from IKEA (thanks for not including enough materials IKEA!).  If you’re ever doing some renovation and you need supplies or have something extra, please consider donating it to your local ReStore (find your nearest location here).

Leave it to me to find a cat on my Habitat trip.  The ReStore has a cat who hangs around named Gracie that they call the “Habicat”.  So adorable, I still giggle.  Anyways I found her first thing when we went inside the store and made instant friends.
The whole gang
After we finished orientation we all went for a hike around the Southeast part of the island starting in Po’ipu.  The hike wasn’t hard except for the whole trekking in sand bit.  Luckily that didn’t last too long.  The volunteer coordinator was leading us on our little expedition so we had an expert to tell us fun Hawaiian stories and trivia along the way.  I really love all of the Hawaiian folklore so I was in full on nerd mode when our guide told us this story of the Naupaka beach plant. We hiked an hour or so then found a gorgeous cliff overlooking the ocean to sit and eat our lunches.  Peanut butter and jelly will never taste as good as right then.  We saw some Honu (sea turtles) chillin' in the soft waves near the shallow coast line and even caught a glimpse of the spout spray from a few whales in the distance.  In the van on the way back to our house we stopped at Spouting Horn, a blowhole created by years of crashing waves eroding a narrow opening in the lava rock.  Of course this place has a legend to go along with it but I won’t bore those of you who aren’t as nerdy as me with it here.  Just Google “Spouting Horn legend” then send me a message so I can have someone to talk about it with.
Quick showers back home and we were off to Hanapepe (the real town that they based the location of Lilo & Stitch from) for an Art Walk.  So fun.  We didn’t actually look at much art because 1. A shiny painting of a sea turtle playing with a dolphin would not work in most of our homes and B. None of us were going to be shipping a giant painting home.  Instead we shopped for touristy things, ate dinner from food trucks and just enjoyed the local culture.  Of course I found the shop giving out free wine to customers.  Tomorrow is our first day of actual building so we all went home relatively early.  We also got to meet Habitat’s local Americorps volunteer who would be leading us at the build site.  I’m pretty nervous for what the day will hold.  I mean, I’m fairly handy but they told us today that we’d be doing roofing and framing on the houses.  Not exactly sure how helpful a 5 ft. nothing person will be with those tasks.


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