As you can see from these pictures, the sites were
not prepared in time for the blitz. The foundations were
supposed to be in place and the decking on over the basement
before we arrived. The house that I was assigned to
was a vacant lot. The site was excavated and
the cinder block foundation laid the week the blitz was supposed
to occur. Rather than building a house I helped haul cinder
blocks, back-filled the foundation with a wheel barrow and shovel,
and helped put the decking on. Then it was time to go home.
It was a ten day blitz and when I left the site was to the point
where the blitz could begin.
And if that wasn't enough of a disappointment, a young punk
on a bicycle saw fit to shoot a b-b gun at the volunteers guarding
the cars in the parking lot. He came back a second time and shot
one of the blitz's organizers above his lip. Until this incident I
had felt relatively safe. I thought that the no matter how poor
you were you could see that Habitat's efforts were a good thing.
Sadly, I was wrong. I left a day early, just after this
incident occurred. If the people in the neighborhood don't get it
then there is no point in helping them. I don't think I would go
back again as I have done in Detroit.
The only redeeming part of what was mistakenly called a Blitz
was the couple who housed me. As an out-of-towner I asked for
housing and was assigned to the parents of the director of the
local habitat. I was treated better than if I was family. Each night
they would move their car into the street so I could park in their garage.
Each night the man would relinquish his recliner to me. I would recap
the day's events while he retrieved cold beers. Twice his wife did my
laundry. Each morning she made me breakfast. The first and last nights
they took me out to dinner and refused to let me pay or even replenish
their supply of beer. Coincidentally the woman and I have the same birthday.
Naturally they sent me a birthday card and we exchanged cards at Christmas.
This couple in their seventies simply could not have been nicer to me.
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