Students headed to Seguin, TX this week to assist Guadalupe Valley Habitat for Humanity! They are busy building affordable homes for hardworking, deserving families in the area. Check back here each day as they document their trip!
This morning we had an early start because our job site in Seguin was about 45 minutes away. After grabbing quick breakfasts at the hotel, we headed out for the day. We arrived at the site for an 8 a.m. start and spent our morning working on building walls, just like what we did the last time we were working in Seguin, only this time, we were much more comfortable with the tools and much more efficient. It was good to see the construction guys again.
We took a break for lunch and had burgers, chicken tenders, Texas toast, curly fries, and fruit. For most of us, the chicken tenders were the best we had ever eaten. After lunch, we got back to building. We finished up the wall set and then spent time saying our goodbyes to our new Habitat friends. We took lots of pictures, especially because we all wore our Habitat t-shirts today.
Then, we left the site and headed to downtown Seguin to see the Habitat Re-Store. Then, we went to find ice cream at a stand that was inside of an antique shop. Many of us got Cookie Monster ice cream, which was very delicious. We spent some time wandering around the city and popping into stores until it was time for our next activity: a dance class.
We drove a few minutes to the Teatro de Arte de Juan Seguin to learn about Mexican culture and some authentic dance moves. Some of us were more successful with these moves than others. Our teacher, Yvonne, was super informative, funny, and explained things very well. We all learned a lot from her about the importance of learning about other cultures and realized that everyone is rich in knowledge, culture, and love. We also got the chance to meet a mother and daughter who were recipients of a Habitat house from 2 years ago, which Allison had worked on. It was a super special moment for her and great for the group to hear the story.
After our class, we headed back to our hotel and made dinner together, consisting of pizzas, pasta, and miscellaneous snacks.
Today we were back at the San Antonio worksite, working in a neighborhood of all Habitat houses. Having so many houses under construction gives us the opportunity to do a huge variety of different jobs, and it’s cool being able to walk from house to house seeing who needs help!
We finished up some jobs we started yesterday, including painting a shed and staining a fence. We also split into groups to start some new tasks. Some of us worked on blocking, which is adding supports between studs for possible additions like handicap rails and shelves. This was a difficult process that involved taking precise measurements and hammering at tough angles— but Mickey and Noah, two of the construction guys, gave us some tips and we didn’t give up! Some other members of the group worked on “blue boxing,” which is putting pieces of special insulation around the HVAC and other appliances to prevent potential fires from spreading. We had to fit into some small spaces! After a Chick-Fil-A lunch break, the whole group worked on cleaning up the yards of four houses so that sod could be laid down.
After some relaxation at the hotel including pool time and card games, we headed back to the river walk for dinner. We found a Texas smokehouse that we had been smelling every time we walked by, and we had to try it! We enjoyed our various meats and mac and cheese. Then we explored more of the river walk and its many shops. Finally we drove back to the hotel (which took a while due to some horse and carriage traffic—a struggle we do not face in Connecticut!). We went back to our rooms to rest after a long day of hard work, and to get some sleep before our last work day tomorrow!
—Alexia and Allison
Today, our group went back to work after a thrilling weekend. Our day started at 8 a.m. on the worksite in Von Ormy, Texas, and this new community is called Rancho Carlota! This was our first time seeing so many Habitat homes set up as a community. The stylistic differences of each home allows for a sense of individuality between the houses.
Our first task was to paint the sheds behind a few homes as well as stain/varnish the fences, therefore we broke up into groups of 2’s and 4’s to ensure that we could get the most done in an efficient manner. After doing this, we gathered as a team to help in rebuilding and fortifying walls with more nails and plywood.
The weather was sunny and windy all day, fluctuating between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect for drying paint and pounding nails!
Overall, although the day may have left us exhausted from the heat, we are proud of what we were able to accomplish. It is with this pride we look forward to the rest of the week — eager to do more and work harder!!
Today we spent our second day off at the Natural Bridge Caverns and doing an escape room. The Caverns are all naturally formed, with the deepest around 200 feet below the surface. There were different tour guides stationed throughout the caverns giving us information as we went through. After the caves, we found some picnic tables near the parking lot and sat in the sun to eat our premade picnic consisting of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, and fruit.
Before leaving for the escape room, we went back to the hotel. Some people slept, some went to the pool, or finished a jigsaw puzzle. When we got to the escape room, we found out that the room called “The Agency” that we had decided on was the hardest room that they had. Around half an hour into the escape room, we still hadn’t solved much and had to ask for some clues to get us going. We didn’t break out of the room within the hour, but we were very close. Considering the room included very intricate clues like having to connect to the wifi to find a code, we all thought we did pretty well. We decided to get ice cream to finish off the day of fun.
—Lexi and Amanda
Today we had quite an adventurous day. First, some of the rooms had the idea to make pancakes for breakfast. One room, in particular, had a few technical difficulties… to say the least, which resulted in a burnt pancake soaked in the sink due to a certain someone’s lack of cooking skills.
Next, we drove to downtown San Antonio to explore the river walk and the Alamo. We took a water boat tour traveling 2½ miles of the river and learned about the history of San Antonio. We got to see the stage from a scene in Miss Congeniality, the lover’s bridge which was featured in the movie Selena, and the bench where Johnny Cash and his wife have their names carved in.
While looking for somewhere to eat, we found a Mexican market and tried some authentic Mexican drinks. Afterward, we ate Whataburger for lunch and got lost trying to find the car. Finally, we found the car and went back to the hotel.
Then we just did our own thing, puzzle building, went to the hot tub, and had a peaceful afternoon to ourselves. Later we all gathered together again in Ms. Duran and Mrs. Thacker’s room for a fun night of build-your-own-pizza and card playing.
—Emily and Alexia
Today was our first day at the worksite! After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we drove about 45 minutes to a construction site in Seguin. We met the core group of construction guys and they taught us how to read the building plans to put together the walls, and by the end of the morning we had assembled all of the walls for a four bedroom home! Most of us were kind of tentative with using tools at the beginning, but we gained confidence so quickly. We mainly worked with Jamie and he was so informative and patient.
After some burgers and chicken fingers for lunch, we drove to see some of the houses that Habitat had already finished in Seguin. It was super cool to see the final results we are working toward. Then, we all wanted to see the famous Buc-ees gas station/general store/merchandise location, which Allison had already told us so much about. We spent some time walking around and everyone got something fun to take home. Then we went to Tractor Supply Co. because some members of the group wanted to look for cowboy hats. After this, we headed back to the hotel to relax and go in the hot tub.
We made ourselves breakfast for dinner with eggs, hash browns, toast and chocolate milk. Tomorrow is a day off from working so we will be relaxing and spending some time exploring Texas!
—Darby and Allison