Americorps/HFH monthly notes for Feb 2001

The next page I could find was from Feb of 2001.

Accomplishments and Challenges:

So far this year, my goal has been to work on my supervisory skills. I find it hard to concetrate on facilitating and supervising; instead, I want to jump in and “get my hand dirty.” However, as I have been instructed, you can’t keep an eye on people when you’re too busy working yourself, and on Saturdays we have so many volunteers that I have to put down my tools and just supervise if I want to keep everyone busy, happy and productive.

I feel that I am learning how to be a better supervisor and I know that I am definitely getting the hang of delegation and multi-group supervision.

My challenges lie mainly in thr fact that I’m tired of winter and a little tired of being at this site (eager to start new houses!). But, I am developing patience and we will be done soon. Plus it’s getting warmer every day!

Reflections:

Ah, yes. Winter. One of my biggest hurdles during this year of service. I am very cold-blooded to begin with. When we started building in September, I was still wearing long sleeve shirts some days (this was central North Carolina – September stays in the 80s and 90s, sometimes more). I have some circulatory issues, as well, so that when I get chilled I lose blood flow to fingers and toes and it’s holy hell trying to get it back. Even sticking them up against a heat source does little than heat the skin, which quickly cools back off as soon as you move away. Add to that the fact that I was a 127 lbs weakling with a bad back and little “hard labor” experience beyond the odd day in the yard (although I had some construction experience, it was all indoors – painting and the like).

So here I am, outside in nasty, cold winter weather (snow, slushy drizzle, 35 degree freezing mist, knife-edge wind) all day, 6 days a week. I’m cold, tired, sore, muddy, hungry and I can’t feel my fingers and toes. For months on end. As the old saw goes, at first I thought I was going to die, then I was afraid I would’t. We burned scrap wood and trash to keep warm (and as it got colder, those scraps got bigger and bigger!). By the time it began to warm up, I was spending most of my day on brain-dead auto-pilot just trying to push through to quitting time. Gah.

But I lived. I even lived through sheathing a roof in the freezing rain, and through what we all agreed was the day of Biblical weather (it had warmed slightly, but was still unstable. We had rain, then hail, then fog, then a layer of puffy “popcorn snow” – all backed by thunder and lightening – in a single one-hour period). Our regional Americorps supervisor was there that day for a meeting with us, and after that round of weather he decided we could all just call it an early day and go home before the locusts and boils struck.

However, I did pay a lingering price. Even after summer came, there were a few toes that I couldn’t feel most of the time. That lasted for a year or two after and I was afraid I’d done permanent damage. Luckily, it seems to have sorted itself out and all is well. None the less, my days of hard construction are over for a while. This time around, I’m opting for indoor work. 🙂

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One response to “Americorps/HFH monthly notes for Feb 2001

  1. Pingback: Habitat for Humanity Women's Build « Getting Things Done: A Year of Service

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