Today I worked with the United Methodist Relief Center (the UMRC) to repair a house that was donated to them. They are a Habitat for Humanity like organization that formed to help rebuild homes after the hurricane in 1989 that leveled parts of Charleston. Today they work to make "safe, warm and dry" houses for people living well below the poverty level.
In the morning, we were removing trash and installing a "moisture barrier," (which is a fancy name for a big piece of plastic) underneath the house. Then in the afternoon, we scraped mold off the ceilings and treated them with bleach water to keep it from growing back. Tropical storm Tammy hit Charleston before the UMRC got the roof on this place, so alot of the ceiling drywall was damaged.
It was overall, a seriously exhausting day.
We also found out that they may be shutting the water off in our dorm for the next few weeks. This isn't an issue for most people in our class, because they've all left Charleston as of today anyway. As for my team and I, they suggest we take showers and use the bathroom in Building 669, two parking lots and a long sidewalk away.
Really, after a month of dealing with situations like this, all I can do is laugh. Sometimes it feels like we're really just squatting on this naval base. The place is literally falling apart around us. The phone quit working last week; there was a flood in my hallway two weeks ago; the laundry room on the first floor has been shut down, because the washers overflow when anyone uses them; there are roaches and ants and all kinds of animals creeping around the dorm; and now they're shutting off the water.
Two of the girls on my team got a letter telling them to evacuate their room by the 13th, but have not been offered any other place to stay by anyone in authority. Tonight they finally decided just to wander the building and see if they could find an empty room, or someone without a roomate that they could live with.
Sally and I keep joking that next they're going to shut off the electricity and give us all flashlights; or close the galley and give us bows and arrows to hunt for dinner with.
It's pretty crazy, but I just chalk it all up to "working for the government," or on a government budget rather, and just have a good laugh whenever something new and insane comes up.