Habitat for Humanity Kauai Trip- Day 3

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 3
First build day!!! After the usual group breakfast and reflection, we climbed into the Habitat van and made our way to Anahola for our first day of actual building.  We were introduced to the site managers and the families of the 2 homes we’d be working on right when we arrived.  That’s one of my favorite parts about Habitat for Humanity (and probably one of the most misunderstood)- these homes are not being built and given out for free, the potential homeowners not only pay for the home but are also required to put in a certain number of sweat equity hours to their build.  For Kauai Habitat that’s 700 sweat equity hours.  The home owners of the house I worked on primarily finished their 700 hours within the first 2 months.  It’s now many months later and they still show up every day to help Habitat build.  The lead project manager led us each morning before we got started building in a recital of the phrase “Habitat isn’t a hand out, but a hand up”.  Cheesy but I loved that part.

 We split into 2 groups for work- roofers and painters.  No one likes painting and I’m pretty good at it so I volunteered, with 2 other fabulous ladies, to go prime 1,543,264,733,235 pieces of wood that would be used as trim and soffits at both houses.  We seriously painted ALL DAY and didn’t get finished.  It didn’t take long before I learned that I am a very messy primer.  At first I was being all meticulous and careful, being sure to paint a thick coat on all sides and edges then the homeowner (who was working with us-LOVE HER) started fussing at us for going so slow.  She kept saying stuff like “this is my house and I say it doesn’t matter if it’s primed perfectly, we need to get this up!” But imagine it with a really thick Hawaiian accent.  Don’t know what that sounds like? Basically a subdued Jamaican.  Painting can get pretty monotonous but luckily I really like the other 2 volunteers I was working with so we had fun chatting all day plus the home owner who was with us that day was really nice and had fun stories for us.  Add to those things the awesome playlist the homeowner had going for us-- a mix of Reggae, Rhianna and get this… Adele.  So much Adele, totally not expecting that.-- and the homeowner’s son Bubba who quickly became a favorite among all of us.  He’s like 13 going on 25, a total jokester who one minute would be hauling a huge 100 lb bag of cement then the next minute dancing Gangnam Style and singing along to Justin Bieber at the top of his lungs.
The roofing group over at the other house got the entire roof shingled in 1 day!  Can you believe that?  When my parents got a new roof put on it took a crew of professionals almost 2 days and our motley gang of 10 newbies got it finished in 8 hours.  The habitat staffers weren’t expecting us to be that efficient, they actually had to come up with more jobs for us because we were working so much faster than they planned.  Basically we’re awesome.
On the way home we had to stop at Costco for supplies for the big Spaghetti dinner we were having that night at the house.  Those of us who didn’t need to go into Costco decided to try to find somewhere to grab a quick drink while we waited.  Nowhere was open (annoying) or serving alcohol (more annoying) so we went into a little grocery market and bought a 6 pack of something.  Of course then we realized we’d have to walk around with our beer in brown paper bags like white trash alcoholics.  We had to look insane walking around covered in red dirt, paint, sweat stains and beer in brown bags.  Super klassy.  Of course then a cop drives up and we’re realize no one knows the open container laws in Kauai and things get even more klassy when we all hide our brown bag beer inside our purses and in empty Jamba juice cups.  Maybe I didn’t need a drink this bad.  No one was arrested and we all loaded up into the van and made it home.  Dinner was delish and the cooks that night were even nice enough to make a separate vegetarian sauce for me!

We still have more painting to do so I assume we’ll be back on that duty tomorrow.  I can already tell I’m going to be sore from all of the standing and bending.  For those of you who thought this trip was going to be a vacation all I can say is FALSE!  Being able to see the ocean while we work is nice but it doesn’t make hammering, hauling, climbing and lifting any less work.
End of 1st build day!


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