Recovery Trip: Day 2

| Adults

Monday, August 1
Rise and shine! For the Recovery Team, the day begins with making lunch at 7 am in the "lunch room." Dietary needs and food requests are gathered weeks in advance during the planning process and again the night before we head out to the job sites. Any last-minute requests, add-ons, etc., are accommodated with a quick run to the grocery store.

Once lunches are packed and placed in the appropriate job site cooler, everyone heads to the dining hall for breakfast. There are three other groups on campus (or nearby) conducting recovery work with MATE, and many young adults are on campus for other group gatherings and activities. The dining hall is a-buzz.

After breakfast, we pack our things for the day - tool belt, hammer, nails, glue gun, drill - check! Cars are loaded with tools, coolers, and people, and we head off to our job sites.

The Recovery Team Leaders reviewed job site requirements and projects the night before. They assess each person's skill and comfort level and assign who will be on which job site. We all wait for the huddle to break and for the big reveal. It's like waiting to see if you got that part in the play.

Job sites can be as close as down the street or 20-30 minutes away. We fan out to our three separate locations and put together a text communication group in the event support is needed from one job site to another. Homeowner introductions occur, pleasantries are exchanged, stories are shared, and the teams begin to move into action. Vehicles are unpacked, and additional site assessments are made to ensure nothing significant has changed. Then the work begins.

In most cases, initial prep work is handled first. At the roofing site, shingles are unpacked, any tarp is removed, safety harnesses are checked and laid out, and anchors are secured. A vanity, hanging bathroom cupboard, and washing machine are removed at the bathroom site, along with old drywall, plaster, and joists. At the add-a-room site, temporary beams and framing are set up, and tarps are removed.

The first day at a job site is slow and methodical as team members learn to work together, as we begin to build a rapport with the homeowners, and as homeowners become comfortable with our presence. Prep work begins, and assessments take place throughout the day to ensure materials are on hand, and safety measures are in place. It's a slow waltz —through the framing of a new room, on top of a roof, and between the bathroom walls.

As the temperatures are hot and humid in August, reminders to take water breaks, reapply sunscreen, and stop for lunch, are sent out via text. The cadence of the Recovery Team expands over text as photos are shared, and updates are provided from each job site.

Around 3 pm, each site begins to clean up for the day. Materials are tucked out of the way, dust and debris are swept up, and cars are packed up again with tools, coolers, and people. Dinner is at 5 pm sharp in the dining hall, so quick showers are necessary. After dinner, the group gathers in the common room to reconnect, play card games, or take a walk in the cool air.

Huddled together in the corner are the Recovery Team Leaders, assessing the day, reviewing job site requirements and projects, assessing the skills and comfort levels of their team members...