Previous generations of college students have spent their spring breaks on the sunny beaches of Mexico with a cold cerveza in hand. A group of friends and I had decided our time away from our studies could be much better spent helping to make a difference, even if that difference was just for one family.
Thanks to the great work of Habitat for Humanity, we volunteered our time and limited construction skills in New Orleans to build houses. With the more recent natural disasters of Haiti, Pakistan and Japan many have forgotten about the damages incurred by Hurricane Katrina a mere six years ago. Being down in N’awlins, 2 things were instantly clear to us Yanks. The first is that although a lot of work has already been done, there is still a lot more to do and the second is that the New Orleans Saints are the best football team, ever. Whether or not you agree with the second of the two is a personal choice but it is apparent that a ton of effort has been put into the reconstruction of this beautiful and inspiring city and it is great to have had the opportunity to be a part of those efforts.
An average day was about 8 hours long beginning at 7:45AM and ending around 4:00PM. We were told that the plot of land we were working in specifically once had a house in it but it had floated away during the Hurricane. From constructing the frame to putting up siding and working over my fear of heights to put shingles on the roof, building a house is not an easy task but is definitely a lot of fun! Not to mention the vast amount of construction knowledge that you gain from working so closely with experts in the field. Although my specialty was supervising I also developed a knack for the nail gun!
At the end of the week we felt accomplished for the work that we had done and were proud to have traded in bikinis and flip flops for hard hats and boots!