Days have begun blending together, each taking a similar shape–biking, building, and learning more about the amazing people surrounding me in this experience. Cyling the last two days was amazing. I took away some lessons from the brutal heat of my last post, and turned my defeat into motivation for more heat and more climbing.
With a new attitude towards the hills, I’m finding myself more successful at climbing. Thursday we spent 44 miles in blistering heat climbing through the Catskills. I am lucky enough to have grown up in those beautiful mountains, so cycling through them felt like home. While climbing, I told myself over four pedal strokes, “I-AM-STRONG-ER”. And I was! Each day I find myself more adept at this new lifestyle, and getting stronger and smarter at cycling. I look forward to the day where I will chant “I am strong!” and know I don’t need the ‘er’.
Friday we had a 68 mile day into the Ithaca area. I had been looking forward to seeing friends and family in Ithaca, but I was nervous about the hills and the distance. The day started out with a beautiful fog–swirls of damp air hid the tops of the Catskills from our view, cooling us off and causing me to wonder at what was beyond. We were blessed with an overcast day through the hills heading out of the mountains–perfect cycling weather in terrain that offered no shade. The last half of the ride was beautiful, flat and sunny. I love Ithaca even more after the ride!
And today was our second build day! I woke up early this morning to help with breakfast (my chore group this week). We cooked delicious eggs, and were excited when a fellow caramelized bananas. We were able to walk to the build site, where we met a lovely AmeriCorps worker who was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for her term. Habitat utilizes a bunch of AmeriCorps volunteers, and allows them to learn everything from construction management to office work in a not-for-profit organization. The amazing volunteers I’ve met have made me start thinking about another term with AmeriCorps.
The build was fun. My crew and I constructed a jig–a sort of useful puzzle that helps build things in a uniform fashion. We built four roof trestles before we realized our jig was moving around, defeating its very purpose because they were not uniform. After we broke for lunch, we constructed another jig that was more successful.
Today was a great day because we all were able to show our support of Habitat, and get our hands dirty. With a build every week, we really get to keep our mission fresh in our mind. We are here to spread the word about affordable housing, and offer both our physical and mental energy for the cause–maybe one day our efforts will help build a country where every single individual will have a safe and affordable home.
I have been without a permanent address for three weeks now–and I have first hand experience of how difficult moving from place to place can be, and that is even with amazing support and places to stay! I can’t imagine trying to hold down a job, or get good grades in school with constant stress of motion on my mind. I hope this crisis ends in my lifetime so no family or child has to suffer from lack of a basic human need.