When I was touring the house to my dad and aunt who are visiting Minneapolis, I realized how far along our house has come since mid-June when we started. We’re building a two-story 5-bedroom home in Frogtown, a neighborhood just North of downtown Saint Paul. We have yet to hear who will be living here. One saying I’ve learned (in addition to ‘measure twice, cut once’) is ‘we’re building a home, not a house.’ People will be living here, growing up, growing old, having fights, crying, and doing homework. This is easy to forget as my life currently revolves around the house before it fills its true purpose. Show up to site at 7:30AM, get out materials, greet volunteers, teach, find the one thing we forgot in the tool shed, talk about unfinished basements in farmhouses, crew lunch, lemonade refills, dance parties, and the love/hate of nailing two boards together. And something unique to Habitat that wouldn’t happen on a normal construction site is that a community forms in the process of the build. Where else would first generation immigrants, retirees, bankers, and anthropology students like me get a chance to spend a day working/playing together? Where else would they come together to build a house for a stranger? This is mythical stuff people. And at the same time, doing it every day feels so ordinary and sometimes even boring! Anyways, this is all just to say, I am just realizing at the end of my AmeriCorps term how rare and special a thing I have been a part of.
Can you imagine how much life your house had inside it before it became a home?