Today I worked with Chris, putting a couple posts on the bottom of a set of stairs and encasing the postholes in concrete. Chris lives in New Zealand, but is originally from Alabama, and is here for the rest of the week. Many of the volunteers were seniors from a local high school, who are spending their last two weeks volunteering. According to my friend who works for Habitat, generally 400 to 600 people volunteer daily.
A couple of friends have asked how I'm able to afford spending a week working without pay. There are basically three answers to that question: 1. I have a reasonable amount of money saved. 2. I'm staying on friends' couches the entire time I'm here. 3. Free lunch.
A great number of groups feed their volunteers and are always very willing to share. In the cases that there aren't generous big groups working, the Loaves and Fishes truck often stops by, as it did today. It is a refrigerated truck run by a local church that drives around the city handing out free lunches to volunteers. (The pastor's wife happened to be from Iowa, by the way- New London, just outside of Burlington. We're taking over the world.) Today, I asked if they would be back tomorrow, since I had already eaten lunch. They said no, but that I should take a lunch for tomorrow anyway. The generosity of the city's residents never seems to run low. In February, a mechanic gave me a good deal on repairing my exhaust, which had been damaged by the potholes Katrina's waters left around the city.