Not long after I left for Luxembourg Brett got to go to build some houses with some of the coolest people who occupy this planet (i.e. anyone who's ever been involved with the Fuller Center for Housing). I wanted to hear all about it, so he wrote me little "blogs" every day while he was there.... and I'm excited that he let me share some of his cool experiences here! Traveling is fun, but I think these are the sorts of things that make a real vacation :)... enjoy!
After failed attempts to travel to Haiti and then to the Congo to build with the Fuller Center, I figured a domestic trip might be my last shot to have some fun while alleviating substandard housing conditions. That’s why I seized the opportunity to head down to Louisiana for the 3rd Annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build. I was also glad I could drive to the worksite, instead of further subsidizing the commercial airline industry by purchasing non-refundable tickets. The 1100 mile drive to Minden, LA was the perfect chance to put some miles on my “new” 2000 Honda Insight. This chick magnet averaged 67 MPG on the drive down, making this a very inexpensive adventure!
At the registration dinner Sunday night, the plans for the week were laid out. Eight new homes would be built on Millard Fuller Drive, and 7 nearby houses would be refurbished. Upon registering, we were given toolpouches, pencils, and cool t-shirts, then treated to a Mardi-Gras style celebration. Amidst all the excitement, I managed to lose my shirt and toolpouch. There are probably pictures of me attempting to dance floating around the internet somewhere, too. It was great to see friends from the Bike Adventure again!
I was assigned to work on house number 4, a new build led by a carpenter from Pennsylvania named Barry. There were about a dozen of us, including a few Americorps volunteers, building this home for Ms. Rose Fuller ( no relation to Millard and Linda Fuller). In order to complete the build in one week’s time, the concrete slab for the foundation was poured in advance, and the majority of the materials had been delivered to the site. Our first task was to find numbered sections of the framework for the house and bolt them down to the foundation according to a provided set of blueprints. I’m told convicts from a local prison had been onsite prior to our arrival to assemble the house frame, then disassemble it in order to make sure things went smoothly for us. Whatever the story, things fit together easily. In less than one day, we had erected the whole structure of the house, and had mounted plywood to half of the roof. I ran the hammer-drill used to run screws into the concrete. If I ever end up with carpal-tunnel, I’ll know why!