After two days, we were finally able to perfect our skills in most efficiently installing an entire 15 foot wall on our own. The walls and ceilings are almost entirely in place, and the skeleton of a house we were presented with on the first day is nearly looking like a home. From learning how to drywall without puncturing the delicate sheets to filling the imperfections with "mud," this experiential learning has been more hands-on than our day-to-day classroom learning and is allowing us to explore skills we never thought we had.
Teamwork has been tested in these past few days, as finding the perfect team for the job is sometimes just as hard as the job itself. Today we all seemed to settle into appropriate niches to accomplish what needed to be done. Joining our usual nineteen (and additional Americorps volunteers) were seven Church of the Brethren volunteers. Their skills and efficiency have been a great teaching tool for us, especially considering some of the men are in their seventies. It's also great to meet volunteers who hail from different corners of the country and talk about what has brought them to New Orleans.
As we pass mid point in the week, we can reflect on what we've done, but more importantly what we've learned about Katrina and New Orleans. With two days left, there's only so much morewe can accomplish here but are ready and excited to take these skills home with us to do good in our own communities.
Carly Freedman & Sara Mohler (Ursinus College)