Today was our last day on the job at Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa. Normally we would work one more day – Friday – but we have to be out of the Avalon RV park by noon tomorrow because every RV park in the area is totally full and can charge three times their normal price on the weekends that there is a home University of Alabama football game. I thought OSU people were nuts about football. They pale in comparison to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama. Every business has “Roll Tide” somewhere on its sign, and the paper was bemoaning a wasted season after their first regular season loss in years. So we have to be gone before the Tide roll in.
We had a great build with Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa. We worked on two houses: one on Juanita Drive and one on Herman Street. Our team started with the Juanita Drive home and we worked on that for six days. When we arrived it was framed in and we added rafters, roof, siding, and painted it before we moved on to the next house. The homeowner for this house is a single working mother with three children. It is a four-bedroom house so each child will have his or her own room and it has a safe-room where they can gather if there is another tornado. This will be the first time this young woman, or any of her family, have lived in a home of their own instead of one that they rented.
The second house we worked on was almost complete, and we were able to put the finishing touches on it. By finishing touches I mean paint. A group of 40 college students came in last Saturday (before the football game) and were in a hurry to leave so they could watch the football game. Some of them painted very carefully. Some . . . not so much. So we ended up painting half the house again. Little details like trim-work all one color really add to the finished look of the house. Tom and some others who worked with him did yard work – cleaning up, leveling, and then laying sod. The house looked so good after we were done with painting and landscaping. There is just the cleaning to go and then the dedication of the house on Wednesday. The Weatherspoons are an older couple whose house burned down a year ago. Mrs. Weatherspoon has been in a nursing home since then while Mr. Weatherspoon has moved around. I’m sure they will be glad to be in this handicapped-accessible home.
The first week we worked for Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa there were more than 40 volunteers helping. This week the group was much smaller – just the seven of us (the Care-a-Vanners) and four “Life Coaches” who decided to do this as a service project together. We enjoyed working with them and things were a little less chaotic on the work site. We also had great project managers who kept us on-task and helped us know how to do things.
Our favorite part of working with Care-a-Vanners is the other people we get to meet. During this build we worked with Jeff and Karen Greenstreet from southern Illinois, Shirley and Richard Harvey from Dallas Texas, and Doug Augustine from Green Bay Wisconsin. We had also worked with Doug in Adrian, so it was good to be with him again. All of them are hard workers with a lot of Habitat Care-a-Vanner experience under their belts. We enjoyed hearing their stories of travel and gaining in experience with them.
Tomorrow we will be pulling out of Tuscaloosa, but our time here has been good. We got a lot of work done, got to enjoy the city and its restaurants (more about that soon), and savored the beautiful fall weather.