Meet Olivia Kilian reporting from our first build day!
Today was finally our first build day of the trip! We were so excited to have a day off from riding and get our hands dirty. We woke up early and ate a delicious breakfast of pancakes and bacon prepared by Walter, Susan, and Bob. Instead of our usual morning routine of strapping on our cycling shoes and stretching, we put on some comfortable clothes and prepared for the day ahead.
We were joined by friends, family and some other members of the community willing to volunteer their time. Kyle, a rider from last summer, and his brother, Tyler, came out to provide us some company as well. Brett Iafiglioia read us the story of The Ragman, and Ryan gave us pieces of Millard Fuller’s handkerchief to wear around our ankles as a constant reminder of why we’re here and what we’re doing. We finished with a prayer and Clete Yoder, one of the founding members of NW Portage County Fuller Center, separated us into different project groups. One group was building a new wheelchair ramp for one house. Another group was rebuilding the roof and working on the plumbing of another house. My group was working on a NW Portage County resident’s home by adding insulation, putting new glass in the windows, putting up new drywall and fixing up other odds and ends.
We all departed to our different sites, excited for what the day would bring! Upon arrival, we got right to work because there was much renovation to be done. Brenda, the homeowner, worked hard to help us with everything. She also had many cats and dogs which we played with throughout the day. We had such a fun time, working together to complete the repairs. The entire Iafigliola family was there which made the experience so enjoyable. We ate very filling lunches prepared for us by members of the Aurora Mennonite Church, where we are currently staying. We continued working all afternoon and it was so nice to see our progress with the house.
As the day wound down, we went back to shower and regroup, then headed to The Church in Aurora for a fantastic pot luck dinner. Friends and family also met us there, along with Brenda and her family. Once again, we ate another great meal. Brenda was so gracious for our work, and that was the most rewarding thing! This build day reminded me why we are biking across the country. The Fuller Center is providing these much needed renovations to homes like Brenda’s. It’s making a great difference in people’s lives and I am so glad to be a part of it with such amazing people.
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