Tom and I are taking advantage of the freedom of being retired by trying out some new activities.  In the past we have both done various mission projects and enjoyed them very much.  We have also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.  So we thought we would enjoy combining them by participating in a Care-a-Vanners’ build with Habitat for Humanity.  download (1)

Care-a-Vanners is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity and is open to anyone who travels or lives in an RV.  Care-a-Vanners sign up for builds in a specific area for two weeks.  There are builds all over the United States, some sponsored by local Habitat for Humanity organizations and some sponsored by the Red Cross or other Disaster Response groups.  For our first experience, Tom and I signed up for a build close to home in Adrian Michigan.

The Habitat group here was given a block of buildings by the city of Adrian.  They are rehabbing the houses and then finding families for them.  We are working on the first of these houses.  It is an old home built before 1900.  It had original cedar siding that was in pretty bad shape.  Inside, the house will be totally gutted and redone.  Our goal, for the two weeks we are here, is to replace the rotted cedar siding with vinyl siding.

We met the group Sunday night.  We are all camping in the same place and we had a meet and greet supper at First Presbyterian where we also met some of the local Habitat staff and the person who is our project coordinator.  There are seven Care-a-Vanners here from Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and us from Ohio.  We are the only ones who have never done a Care-a-Vanner build.  The couple from Texas has done over 100 and the man from Wisconsin has signed up for 20 this year.  He is basically going from one build to the next.

We started work bright and early this morning.  We met at the work site, went over instructions for the day and had devotions.  After our prayer we got busy ripping off cedar siding.  It was strenuous and dirty work.  By the end of the day we had ripped off the siding on one side of the house completely and the crew on the scaffolding had repaired and insulated that wall.  The group I was with continued around the other three walls of the house, ripping off as much siding as we could reach without the scaffolding.

We got a lot done for our first day, but it will be a push to get the siding done in the two weeks.  We had a setback today because the dumpster didn’t arrive as promised so there are piles of old siding (with lots of nails) all around the house.  Hopefully the dumpster will come tomorrow so we can clean up the site and make it safer to walk around.

We are enjoying meeting some new folks, hearing their stories, and doing this good work.  I am looking forward to working again tomorrow and seeing how much we can get done.  I just hope I can lift my arms!

The house before we started. First thing – move the port-a-pot!
My hard hat
Pulling off the siding
All the siding gone on the front, work repairing and insulating begins
Enjoying a delicious lunch provided by the local Habitat volunteers