Today we had our first build day!!
Apparently all the routes now have build days during orientation, which I LOVE, since we didn’t get to do that in the Outerbanks the last time. It’s a really great way to learn more about the city where your trip ends, the affordable housing need there, and get to know the locals.
Today after breakfast of a banana and a plain croissant (sorry Tay! though Noah had his dipped in peanut butter and said “get yourself a croissant who can do both”—inside joke with some of the NC2SD14 girls, lol), we eventually got shuttles to the build site on Big Pine Key.
On the way I got recruited to be the first operator of the official Bike & Build Snapchat, so I Hagan snapping videos of the beach, interviewing team members, and, of course, catching some of them sleeping.
Once we arrived on site, we saw immediately how much this area is still effected after Hurricane Irma. Judging from US-1, the Keys seem fine, but in reality, a lot of the locals, especially those not in Key West, have been displaced from their homes due to water and wind damage
and such and have been living in traitors ever since. Affordable housing was already a huge problem in the Keys (apparently #1 addressed issue during elections down here!), but now even more so.
Before Habitat in the Lower Keys only did repair work, or the “brush of kindness” program. Now they have a huge need for damage control, renovation, helping people rebuild their homes completely, and eventually have affordable housing units built. This is a long process and will take years to combat, but they know that this transformation must take place.
There’s also an issue with the locals and their view in the local government bc previously homeowners were building on their land without a permit and whatnot and the government just looked the other way, but now in wake of the storm, they must tighten up reigns, which is beginning to cramp the style of the islanders lax beach life style.
We met Dell, the homeowner, who told us a bit about his story—retired/disabled, bought the property and built a house after inheriting money, had lots of rain damage after a chunk of his roof blew off, but was still living in his house “camping
style” because the water and electric still worked.
The house was looked fine from the outside, but on the inside was all exposed framing and ripped up flooring and personal belongings wrapped and boxed away. We helped hang dry wall and “mud” the holes and cracks on the walls. We got the main level walled and it looked much more like a home after only 6 hours of work from our team. It’s not much, but it’s something to help and a lot was able to get done!
After building, we showered, ran back in the pouringggg rain, ate burritos for dinner (another DM score!), and had another presentation—hooray for hygiene! After getting some of my stuff together, a few girls and I went to a local bar off of Duval Street called Sandbar to get $3 margaritas! Don’t worry—we only had one and they were $3 margaritas aka mostly juice 😉
Afterward, we walked back to the host and started getting ready for bed. These days are long but so rewarding. We’re excited to get on our bikes tomorrow for the first time together!
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