Habitat for Humanity – Sumter, SC: Day 5

Day 3 of building and I can honestly say I’ve never done so much physical labour in such a short amount of time. Who needs to go to the gym when you can just frame a home??

We were lucky enough to have Nadine on site with us all day, and it was so inspiring seeing her put in her hours for her home. I got the chance to speak with her throughout the day, and you could just tell how grateful and thankful she was for all of us and for the home as a whole.

Anyways, today started out like every other day…early. We got to the work site, went through our daily safety meeting, and off we went. Today we finished putting the interior walls up, putting the headers in, ensuring the porch frame went up correctly, and starting on the OSB. OSB is basically a plywood that goes along the walls of the exterior.

My main task today was to build these headers with small pieces of OSB in between them, and 2 hours later, we completed about 10 of them. We then proceeded to put these headers into the already put up door frames, which was definitely a pain in the butt. Before we knew it, it was lunch time.

Special thanks to Coldwell Bankers and Ronnie for blessing us with real fried chicken from the south. It was absolutely delicious, and I was thankful to eat some true southern food down here. Ronnie sat with us at lunch and we got to know him a bit better; cool story, he’s a dual-citizen so he knew all about us Canadians! He was telling us stories about his travels throughout the world, and about his many cruises he went on. I absolutely love talking to all the locals here and hearing about what brought them to where they are today. It’s mind blowing how everyone started out and how they’ve grown as a person and ended up in Sumter, SC.

After lunch was done, and I could barely move, it was time to continue putting the headers into the frames. This involves one of my “favourite” tasks, toenailing. When I decided I needed a break, I went and sat with a kind man by the name of Merle, who is a 93-year-old WW2 veteran. Not having really grown up with any grandfather figures in my life, it almost brought me to tears listening to him talk about his life both here and overseas. He showed us some pictures, including a picture of him the day after WW2 ended and he was 21. I will never grow tired of hearing all these stories, as it really brings on a new perspective to my life, both here as a volunteer and in general back home. He also spoke to us about how he met his wife, and it was so touching to hear how adorable it was. It made me think how different “dating” and “meeting someone new” is nowadays.

After speaking to Merle, it was time to get back to work for the last couple of hours. We were still finishing up the headers, more OSB was going up, and the porch frame was getting completed. The home is really starting to come together, and it’s hard to believe that my group and I accomplished all of this so far.

It’s been an extremely long day, and I know these early mornings and hard days of work are slowly starting to catch up on us. It’s been hard trying to give 100% every minute of every day, but my group is just so tough and supportive of each other that it makes it so much easier. It’s hard to put into words how amazing this trip has been so far, and I wouldn’t want to spend my reading week any other way.