Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today is a Very Good Day!

Team journal entry from Wendy:

We awoke to a freshly washed Beards Fork. The rain from last night cleared away and broke to a beautiful July morning. Breakfast was prepared by all and sleepy heads rubbed the dew from their eyes over hot coffee, tea, and the kind conversation of new friends. Artie arrived and formally began our work day. Heidi shared a beautiful poem, “The Way You Say It,” and the boys read their journal from the day before. Heidi, Nancy, Gary, Jen, and Grady headed off to the site to hopefully begin the roofing project on the house rehab in Powelton. Skylar, Travis, Cooper, Meghan, Alex, and Cathy read to the summer school children. The students, on the whole, are very good readers and enjoy having new friends read with them. Mariann, Polly, Jim, Rhonda, Rosie, Carol, Kris, and Wendy worked on the dorm project. Cabinets were hung with Craig’s help and Ralph’s expertise in the kitchen. Paint was brought in with the anticipation that wall paint will be rolled soon. Skimming of the bathroom walls progressed and painting should start before we finish our week here. The walls in the hallway had all of the imperfections filled to make them also ready for a finish coat of paint. The kick plates were installed and things are moving right along.

Skylar said it’s a very good day if his shoulder blades are burning at the end of the day. Today is a very good day!

The afternoon project in the school building was the preparation of the new food pantry. Rosie and Rhonda tackled the space known as the “secret room” to clean out, uncover, and otherwise get to the bare bones in preparation for construction of the new shelves and then the enormous moving project of the canned goods. Two groups worked on sorting the donated food. It was a huge, overwhelming job. Some categorizing was achieved, but the 10,000 cans are quite a huge mountain. We will conquer this mountain this week.

A Hearts game made the late afternoon pleasant along with snacks and cold beverages!

Jen and Nancy arrived back with the evidence of hard work spent on the roof on their clothes and bodies. With half the roof now completed tomorrow’s project will be the other half. Gary said the kitchen is now six inches taller because it is now straight. Good deal. Bob and his family will undoubtedly enjoy the fruits of our labor for years to come. Heidi worked on the sofits and siding, too. Our team loves the mantra that Craig repeats throughout the day with his kind smile and contagious laughter: “Team work makes the dream work.”

Our bodies are a bit sore but our spirits are shining brightly. Good work, good friends, great food. . . what’s not to like?

Another feast was prepared by Artie and enjoyed by all. Dishes were washed by Gary, Mariann, and Nancy, and Carol vacuumed our common space in preparation of more group time. We ended our day with memories of Ralph, T. J, Chris, Craig, Debbie, Vicki, and so many more.
Our hearts are grateful for new friends and such kind hosts. Sleep will come easily after a nice day. . . hopefully, quiet will, too.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Serving and Learning in Appalachia

Thought for the day, offered by Wendy from a South African Global Volunteers experience: “UMBUNTU: I am because we are.”

Journal entry for Saturday and Sunday: Nancy

Our day started out flying in airplanes or riding in a car. We all met at Beards Fork, WV.
One way in, one way out. Our team leader is Artie, a native. He is a book of stories about Beards Fork, WV. The day consisted of getting to know one another and listening to live music by the children. The group consists of Rona, Wendy, Polly, Rhonda, Carol, Jim, Jen, Cathy, Heidi, Nancy, Kris, Mariann, Gary, Rosie, and six children: Alex, Meghan, Travis, Skylar, Grady, and Cooper, who is going to keep us on our toes. I appointed myself the official photographer. Lights out at 2200.

Sunday, July 19

The stream is running
The birds are chirping
The sky is blue, but
It’s a good day when you can start off with coffee.

The morning consisted of coffee, eating, and conversations
Playing the piano
Assembly line of food with everyone participating
More piano playing

The afternoon consisted of our orientation meeting with Artie at the helm and a drive around the area with Artie, Wendy, and Rhonda driving.
An excellent dinner of lasagna, pasta, salad, veggies, and bread, in which I consumed way too much bread.

After dinner, we got to meet John David. He is a wealth of information about Beards Fork and West Virginia. He also explained the importance of our group and projects completed past and present. Who knew Beards Fork was at the end of a "holler?" There is a wide variety of professions represented here, although teachers outnumber the rest of us. There are also medical, retired people, domestic parents, a behind-the-scenes celebrity in the entertainment field, a librarian, and six children. We will be working alongside with SALS—the Southern Appalachian Labor School.

Our evening ended late. Everyone was exhausted. Looks like we have a good team.