I was up by 5:00, showered by 5:15 and at the lodge by 6:00. Now, none of the students and very few of the school leaders are up at that time. It just gives me time to think, write, read, pray and get ready for the day. It also gets me to the table by the fireplace. That is where the team leaders sit. I suspect I was not supposed to be there but it is a friendly group. I got to sit with these manly men who talked about construction and faith, oh and who told really lame jokes. Between their company and the smell of burning wood it was a great way to start the day.
We had a great breakfast and then we all had our safety orientation. Maybe not the most interesting part of the journey but clearly important. Then we had our first school lead devotion. After that we all separated into our work teams. Each team had a different family and home in a different area. I was a member of Blue One and our family was in a holler outside Salyersville.
We drove almost 45 minutes to get to the site. Once there we all gathered in a circle to pray. We had awesome team leaders. Jerry is from New York but moved to Atlanta. He is a retired Eastern Airlines pilot, he flew all different planes. They had to be all big because he is a mountain of a man. Dan was the long term volunteer. He is from Pennsylvania. This was his last week here. He was great. Mickey was a Texas-Wisconsin cheese head who is an engineer. We had great teachers all week.
Then we started to work. Our first day was modest. All we did was:
cover up water lines, wash half the trailer, put up tin flushing, square off the porch, build the porch for the trailer, construct the deck, tear up the floors in the two bathrooms and one bedroom, remove carpet and linoleum and bolt the porch to the trailer!Yep, this was spring break.
In between we had lunch. Pam and I climbed the side of the hill to reach an old goat shed and we looked for the tree frogs that were singing. The hill was coal and you could find it everywhere. It was cold and it rained but not enough to stop us from working.
Supper that night was chicken, scallop potatoes, green beans and peach cobbler. We were hungry. Afterwards we had devotions. We heard a great poem written by one of the students and we sang Lamb of God.
Afterwards we had a presentation on Appalachian history. We learned about the area, the culture and the pride of the folks who live here. We learned how many of the folks are the descendants of soldiers in the Revolutionary War. We learned about the Native Americans and early settlers, about the feuding (Hatfield and McCoy’s) and about lumber and coal. We learned a lot.
The next speaker talked about Perspectives on Poverty. She distinguished between situational poverty and generational poverty. The area has a high degree of birth defects, deafness, blindness and mental disorders.
Finally we joined our school groups and ended the day with reflections. Our model was to share what we did in our teams and what one event from the day would we take back with us. Finally it was free time or sleep time. It was a good first full day of work .