Fort Thompson, SD (Oct 03/13) – The Habitat for Humanity (H4H) visitor centre here on the Crow Creek Indian Reserve is moving forward rather quickly. All the electrical, plumbing, framing, and HVAC is almost complete. A few more soffits to be built, and the entire area will be ready for drywall. N&J have been using some new construction skills along the way. Jim Huntley (H4H Executive Director & construction guru) has been sharing some of his tricks, giving additional insight into building technique… N&J have each done considerable renovations in the past, but have benefited from this experience, improving the efficiency by ‘measuring twice, cutting once’.
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Jim Huntley invited N&J to an H4H Executive board meeting and we were honoured to be there. The members happy to have them working on the project wanted an update, giving the opportunity to showcase the work that had completed. It felt good! Being part of the meeting it was learned about the inner workings of how a family is chosen and about their involvement with ‘sweat equity’ or financial commitments.
Maintaining a bit of levity, as ‘amateur constructors’, have developed their own new construction language. We tell Chauncey that today is a national holiday in Canada called “Make Up Your Own Words Day”…. he looks at us quizzically as we continue with our work…. J seeking the ‘just right’ (level). As the soffits go up, “where is the ‘basher’ (hammer), I’ve got to put these ‘insies’ in” (can be screws or nails). Getting really good with the ‘BIG Attacker’ (nail gun) it has become J’s favourite new toy. N is more comfortable with the ‘weee attacker’ (staple gun) putting up plywood on the front of the soffits. The ‘how much’ (tape measure) being checked twice by both before N puts the wood through the ‘Chopper’ (table saw). “Has anyone seen the ‘silly goop’ (silicon)?” The days go rather quickly, with a bit of humour and being consumed with a particular project at hand, often are surprised by the time of day when they finally emerge from ‘the cave’ (basement) into total darkness. Chauncey thinks they are nuts. 😉
Also ‘under construction’ on a daily basis are the meals in the kitchen. The folks at the Elder Centre (Marcella & June) have been gracious to allow us full use of the kitchen facilities for meal preparation. N has been busy keeping the work crew well nourished with amazing creations.
She has an uncanny ability to come up with new recipes on the spot, with what is on hand, and what little is available in the tiny village (the gas station’s grocery store) of Fort Thompson. Yesterday N made up a huge batch of “Gizmo’s Chilli” w/beef, bacon & chorizo, which was a big hit with J; and the next day with the Elder Centre kitchen staff. In addition they were able to offer ten of the ‘park residents’ a hot bowl… came in handy as it turned out to be a ‘chilly’ night. Tonight, not to be outdone… it was roast chicken with bacon, potatoes, onions, carrots, fresh garlic, a delicious blend of seasoning & a glass of wine. A perverse irony considering the conditions N&J are living within.