Good morning world! I’m three weeks into life in Montgomery and you can bet your iced venti vanilla lattes I’ve had quite a few Lizy-esque adventures thus far.
My first week here was spent in a big, empty apartment without any furniture. I slept on a borrowed air mattress and ate my meals on the floor. I’m proud to announce that I now have a bed, a dining room table, and a couple of chairs from a fabulous lady here in the office that is moving into a smaller house and cannot take all of her furniture with her. My living room is still mostly empty, but that just means I have more room to dance, yes?
I work for a non-profit organization called Rebuilding Together as an AmeriCorps member. The organization provides home repairs for low-income homeowners, free of charge. No, it is not the same as Habitat for Humanity, although we frequently work closely with them. Habitat builds houses from the ground up and charges their homeowners a small price, in addition to a certain amount of sweat equity. Our repairs are free. There are roughly 200 Rebuilding Together affiliates across the nation. The name of mine is Rebuilding Together Central Alabama and it serves Montgomery and the surrounding counties.
Rebuilding Together used to be called Christmas in April, but it’s name was changed about ten years ago. Our big push for projects take place in April (the event is called “National Rebuilding Month”), though we do projects all year round.
My job here is the Project Developer. I work as a liaison between homeowners, volunteers, and RT to make sure all of our ducks are in a row during work projects. The past few weeks I have been reviewing homeowner applications and visiting their homes to see the problems first hand and let me tell you: poverty is a real thing. The other AmeriCorps worker here is my homie Alaina, and she is the Volunteer Coordinator. I’ll let you figure out what her job entails.
This past weekend I went to New Orleans to participate in a little Mardi Gras shenanigans. And oh baby, there was quite a bit of shenanigans. Some recent college grad who was a Politics major and has a promising future got up on stage at one of the bars and danced for like ten minutes to “Hey Ya.” …ok, I have to admit that it was quite a bit of fun. In addition to all the beads thrown at us and witnessing an entire city get drunk together, four people got shot on Bourbon Street on one of the nights we were there. I’m proud to report that I was not one of those people. The photo on the left is one I took with a counter-protester to the Christian group that was there waving signs that let us all know we were going to Hell and needed to repent.
I have already been to church as well as bible study and have been invited to attend today’s Ash Wednesday service at Saint John’s Episcopal. I have eaten more than enough grits and yes, I do say y’all. I am in hog heaven with all of the country music stations, though I have yet to visit a true honky tonk.
Tonight I am going to a Mexican restaurant (let’s see what the South thinks is Mexican…) with some AmeriCorps members from a different program. This weekend I want to try to make it out to Birmingham to visit the site of the Birmingham bombings.
For now, the hunt for furniture still continues, but at least I have a real bed now. Still no microwave or couch or tv or internet, but I’m making due with what I’ve got.
The air mattress I slept on my first week here.
My very crafty way of mounting my mirror.
Look! I have a bed now!