Saturday, February 26, 2011

Serendipity trip

One of my goals when I stopped working last June was to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and then to participate in a Habitat build in an area affected by Hurricane Katrina.

I've been on one Habitat build so far. It was on a Saturday, and I showed up with about 15 other people. Everyone else was in their 20s and a member of the young people's group of an evangelical church. They were all very nice and full of energy, and I spent a day holding the ladder for a young woman using a nail gun on siding.

I waited to sign up again because I really don't want to go alone and know no one when I get there and have nearly everyone be my kids' ages. So I contacted a Women Build coordinator - that's a group of women that builds a Habitat house. This group will start building a house next year, but for this year the group participates in other builds from time to time. They've been very friendly and invited me to join them. But I haven't, so far, because I live 15 miles north of Seattle and this group does its work in Tacoma, which is just over an hour's drive when there's no traffic and no rain.

So I was feeling a little guilty at not moving forward on this goal of mine.

I've also thought it would be fun to take a trip to the Cajun country of Louisiana. I'm not good with hot weather, so it would need to be between November and March or so.

Yesterday I was looking around at the activities offered by Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) in Louisiana. I was very surprised to find a Habitat for Humanity build in Lafayette, in the middle of Cajun country, for the week of March 14. Participants meet on Monday afternoon at 4 to talk about the week. From Tuesday to Friday they build for three hours in the morning, eat a box lunch onsite, and build for three hours or so in the afternoon. In the evenings Road Scholar has planned activities: a Cajun dinner one night, Cajun music another, Cajun dance lessons another, a dance hall evening another, and a swamp tour on the last morning.

What a serendipitous discovery! A Habitat build in an area affected by Katrina, with a group of people close to my age. Instead of sleeping on the floor of a church, we'll be sleeping in a bed at the Ramada Inn. And my husband Art thinks this sounds like fun. Besides, he told me, it's on your bucket list.

This Habitat build was the only one offered by Road Scholar anywhere in the world.

So we'll fly from Seattle to Houston, rent a car and drive to Lafayette. We're Alaska Airlines frequent flyers, so every trip we do I try to find a way to fly Alaska. Continental flies directly into Lafayette, but I'm looking forward to the three-hour morning drive from Houston into Louisiana - I've never taken that drive before, and it might be interesting.

All we have to do is sign up for the Road Scholar program. I'll do that Monday, after I've called and made sure you don't have to have years of construction experience to participate in this build.

I wasn't planning on taking another trip quite this soon. Oh, well. For this goal, if not now, when?

23 comments:

marciamayo said...

Linda, that sounds perfect. I'm going to check our Road Scholar and see what else they are offering these days. I remember Elderhostel from when I taught at the college. They would use our dormitories from time to time.

Paul C said...

Sounds like an interesting foundation similar in name to Oxford's 'Rhodes' Scholar.' You planned a wonderful experience.

Muffy's Marks said...

Good for you. Sounds like you hit a jackpot of your interests!! I'll bet your excited.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Linda, You make me look absolutely agoraphobic, not to mention lazy. I'm getting woozy from keeping up with you. :)
That drive was very pretty when I took it...thirty years ago. Hope it still is. Sounds like fun!

Olga said...

This is truly an inspiration.

Linda said...

Wow, what a match. I'm jealous of your energy and self confidence. Go for it.

maggie's garden said...

You've both inspired and motivated me. Volunteering has been on my list of to do's since the first of the year. I used to do the soup kitchen, and P.A.D.S for the homeless...but have been looking around for a new volunteer program. I don't think I'm suited for building anything so the quest continues...thanks for the motivation.
Have fun on your adventure.

Linda Reeder said...

A perfect match! A lucky find, but only because you were looking for it! Way to go.

Out on the prairie said...

I have worked on 3 habitat homes and a few for a local group ran by Sisters of Humility.Fun people to be around.Send me your email separate from a comment and I won't publish it. I have some neat ideas for your NE trip, I have been to Gordon many times and worked alot in Valentine.My family homesteaded about the same time, there is a homestead museum for NE in Beatrice.
Steve

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Definitely a great opportunity. Good for you and your bucket list!

CherylK said...

That sounds perfect! I envy you...I really do...and I'd run it by Jack except that I'm just getting the cast off my leg (barring any unforeseen circumstances) on March 8th. So I'm going to check out the Road Scholar (love that name!!) to see what else they have going.

Retired English Teacher said...

This is very cool.

Terra said...

This sounds like it is meant to be.

#1Nana said...

Perfect! Funny how the universe sends you what you need.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Sounds fantastic and exactly what you were looking for! What an amazingly selfless experience to have as a must do on your bucket list. Have a great time and tell us all about it when you get back :-)

Grandmother said...

It's such a good thing that we inspire one another. Road's Scholar is now on my "look it up" list. Habitat for Humanity is one of my favorite charities- have a great time!

Jen Chandler said...

What an exciting discovery! Isn't it funny how when we commit to doing something, opportunities present themselves?

Thanks for the comments on my blog! I really appreciate them and the encouragement. Kudos to you for staying on as long as you did and then following your dreams :D

Cheers!
Jen

Janna Qualman said...

Very inspiring! I wish you the best, Linda.

Shh... You didn't see me here. (Still unplugged and all, just wanted to hop over real quick.) ;)

Sightings said...

Good for you ... and thanks for the heads up about Road Scholar. Could come in very useful in the near future.

Barb said...

Hi Linda, Glad all events came together, and you'll be doing some volunteering in a place you're wanting to visit. I've taken that drive from Houston into Louisiana. You might also want to stay in Houston a day on your return - I liked that city a lot when we visited in Nov. (The Hermann Park area was lovely and is right by Rice University.)

Lili said...

Oh how fantastic for you Linda! I too am fascinated by Louisana and am told I have Cajun roots too. Love the food, music, etc. This trip sounds fun and bonus that you'll be giving back too. Love it. Have fun and will look forward to hearing more about it! ~Lili

rachel... said...

How cool! I'd love to be able to do something like when my kids are a bit older and more independant. Good luck, Linda!

Deb Shucka said...

There's too much serendipity at work for you not to pursue this build. What a great story! I look forward to hearing how it goes, what you learn, what gifts you find in the magic that is leading you to Katrina country.