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?