I've arrived back in Decorah after my month in New Orleans.
Thursday and Friday were spent working with Kevin from New York and Dana from San Francisco. It seemed appropriate to end my trip working with 2 people from opposite sides of the country, all working together for another part of the country. I gave them my Iowa tourism promotion pitch- the people, the lifestyle, the beauty- and my Northeast Iowa promoition pitch too, telling stories about growing up in a small town. I've honed the pitched by constant pitching when I'm not in Iowa, and 4 years of experience has made me, from what I'm told, a good salesman. I succeeded this time- I got a promise from Dana that she would visit. We were trimming, spackling, sanding, and painting a front porch. The trim had been started before we got to the house, but it had been done in a way that it was functionally correct but asthetically unattractive. We discussed whether we should copy it for the sake of uniformity with the rest of our trim, or re-do it, and ultimately consulted a Habitat employee. She told us, "You can do either way, as long as it is uniform. If it was my house, I'd want it to look nice."
So we, somewhat begrudgingly, set out to un-do and then re-do the trim that had already been done. It was very frustrating to take a few steps back before taking any steps forward, particularly on that hot and windless day. But we knew we needed to redo the trim. Sure, it would have worked fine. But had it been our home, we would have wanted it to look nice. And making sure that homeowners don't just get a home, but get good service too, is what creates moments like this.
I don't plan on posting to this blog any longer, but please feel free to email me if you want to hear more about my trip. I had an incredible time- meeting homeowners and working with them on their homes, listening to great live music, eating tasty cajun and creole foods, and taking in the New Orleans culture. See for yourself why New Orleans needs to be rebuilt: take a trip down there , listen to some local music, and pitch in.