Habitat for Humanity – Sumter, SC: Day 3

Well, I made it through day 1 of building without losing a limb or hammering a nail into my finger, so I would say today was a success.

We started out the day with an early wake up call at 6:30, eager to start building. After a quick breakfast, it was time to head on the bus to Habitat Dr. to start building their 120th Habitat for Humanity home in Sumter, SC.  Bob the Builder gave us a quick orientation, including safety rules, showed us around, and off we were.

I started off lining the perimeter of the home, which involved trying to figure out the American imperial system. Too many 1/4ths and 5/16ths and stuff like that; too confusing for my brain to comprehend. This task took about 2 hours to do, but was definitely a vital part to the build. We had to make sure that all the pieces of wood were “flush,” which basically means that they were aligned properly. As we were doing that, others were cutting wood, building the door frames, and hammering away on other small things.

I had said that one of my goals for the trip was to go out of my comfort zone, and that I did! I was definitely nervous using a power tool, as I’ve barely ever hammered anything in my life. I got to try out the power saw and it was thrilling. To everyone back home who said I wouldn’t be able to do it, I cut a fine, straight piece of wood.

Time flew by, and it was already time for lunch. We were hosted by yet another beautiful family who provided us with the fuel we needed to keep building. At lunch, I had a really touching conversation with two USA veterans, one from the US Air Force, and one from the US Navy. I’m a sucker for stories like theirs, so I attentively listened to them describe their time in Italy, Greece, Turkey, and many other places. They were just as intrigued in my travels, and it felt like I had known them forever. It was a really touching moment and I have so much respect for them and what they do, irrespective of which country they are from.

After lunch was when we really started to see the home come to life. It was time to put the walls up and do the trickiest task of the day, “toenailing.” I have absolutely no idea where the name comes from, but it basically entailed putting the screw in at a 30 degree angle which is a lot trickier than it sounds. After “toenailing” the walls we put up, we were more or less done for the day. Time for clean up and some final words.

Today definitely taught me a lot about myself, both physically and mentally. I’m proud that I achieved my goal of stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying something new. This whole trip is definitely an eye-opening experience, both mentally/physically for myself and the community as a whole.

Excited to see how far we get tomorrow, and what new tasks we’ll be given. We are being hosted by another family tonight, and I can’t wait to see and eat what they’ve graciously made for us. I thought I would get this post out early for once, so here you go. Hope you all had a great Family Day (back home)!