Archive for the ‘Appalachia’ Category

Workfest, day five/sixish


I was too busy/asleep to write much of an entry, so I’ll just post the few photos I have from the last two days.

Almost-completed deckDeck, almost finished

Crate of Ale-8-One donated by someone whose name I forgetCrate of Ale-8-One

Pastries which Andy took a lot of time preparing for breakfast Pastries that Andy put a lot of work into

Workfest, day four


Typical morning, finishing up of some work, watching a deck get assembled…

After that we went to a church about 30-40 minutes away and had dinner with the families whose homes we were repairing. Some people got up to talk and expressed a lot of gratitude in general.

Sometime on the drive back to camp with the rest of my crew, we all basically lapsed into some mix of a sugar-high combined with slap-happiness, and we were laughing and screaming the whole way back over really nothing in particular, fueled by the occasional 55-mph tight turn with a bus and semi truck in the other lane, and random songs on the radio (which otherwise had been off until now). Ma’Isah randomly grabbed me during her overdramatic dancing to “Rescue Me,” which was a bit odd, but also quite funny.

Once back at camp, the colleges split up to meet, and it seemed everyone from UC was just as slap-happy and high on sugar/caffeine/whatever. They already were laughing at MJ (or maybe with him) about some conversation revolving around underwear or something I completely missed, and the meeting was just a sort of continuation of that. We attended to all needed business, like evaluation forms that we had to fill out – we just happened to be laughing the entire time. Kim, for instance, saw that I had written “cute fluffy kittens” on the part of the form where I was supposed to note a high point of the trip, and she confused “kittens” with “mittens” and then proceeded to laugh her ass off for about 5 minutes.

She also asked the group if they thought they’d like to meet afterward sometime just to get ice cream or something, because we all seemed to be enjoying being around each other and it would be weird to suddenly leave and cease to meet again. Holly also asked who’d like to return to Workfest next year, and MJ suggested talking to honors at UC about that, as people didn’t have to come as part of a class – it could just be a university function.

It’s odd… it’s like we all started meshing and being friends.

It’s miles apart from other environments I’ve been in, where I had suspicion that it was not my fault that I couldn’t enter people’s social boundaries and felt that they were putting up walls to keep me out. Sometimes those suspicions would leave and I’d blame myself for being who I am, but if I have no trouble befriending multiple people over a few days, I must be doing something right.


Sky in the morning

We were repairing Connie’s house; this photo has Andy (one of the crew leaders), Connie, and Heather (Connie’s daughter)Andy, Connie, Heather

More progress on the deckMore progress on the deck

Random cat that would hang aroundRandom cat with no tail

Workfest, day three


Well, scratch that part in the last entry about not pushing beliefs.

I slept like a rock (as MJ predicted), woke up groggily, and started another day. Work was a bit slow at first because my wrist was sore and it was hard to hammer, but everyone was pretty productive in general.

Deacon Gregory gave a long, slightly unexpected sermon at lunch today, which I disagreed with a lot of, but thought it a bit inappropriate if I spoke out and had no one on my side (though Corrie said later that she didn’t like it much either). So, Lea perhaps was right.

I also had some odd discussions with Max, Dan, and Paul. I’ve been trying to talk with everyone from UC, but I haven’t see Lizzie or Holly much. Aside from that, I’ve tried to talk to some people in my crew and just around camp. Lolita has seemed to keep her distance from the rest of the crew (just as a general tendency, not like active avoidance), but she’s very friendly. We walked around for 10-15 minutes to shoot pictures of the landscape and a nearby family cemetery.

A speaker came to talk about poverty when the camp met after dinner. I don’t recall much of this because I was dead tired, and the room was very hot and making me ready to pass out. Everyone from UC met after that, and Lea made a point that many of the volunteers were very ignorant in general and this bothered her (such as when they’d say things that were insulting to her and her heritage).

I wandered in the cafeteria after that and eventually got Corrie, Dan, and Max to play Thirteen (the card game that my brother showed me days prior, and almost a year prior in Seattle). Paul replaced Max when he wanted to play euchre with another group instead, and William joined in; his girlfriend Laura wanted to play but then she was distracted looking at pictures on my camera and then reading a paper/magazine/something. We played about 3 or 4 hands before everyone else was too tired to play, so they left. I think they liked the game, but it’s hard to tell for sure.

I took a ton of pictures today… my 512 MB card is almost full in my Canon, but I have my 128 and 32 MB cards, and my old crappy Kodak with 512 and 64 MB cards. I am surprised the batteries have lasted so far in the Canon, as they’ve been at “low” since the first day.

I understood some of what Jen Eich said months ago about being able to volunteer for a year without racking up debt – much of the staff lives in a sort of coop under CAP, with most expenses covered (like housing, insurance, and utilities) and a $150/month stipend. It looks very nice – if one is suitably dedicated.

Early stages of the deck:Early stages of the deck

Deck from the other side

Corrie & Christine putting up soffit

Corrie & Christine putting up soffit
Nearby road

Family cemetery

Some kitten

Workfest, day two


Proceed with first work day.

Due to loud snorers and periodic heater-startup and my cell phone failing to be a usable alarm after its batteries drained in standalone mode for no apparent reason, causing me to believe it was 6 AM when it was probably around 2 AM . . . I had very little sleep, and woke up pretty groggily and felt like eating nothing and doing nothing.

This wore off pretty easily once I was at the work site with my crew. I was working with Corrie at first, and she was cheerful and this helped; Connie, the owner of the house we were helping repair, was also extremely kind to us.

Most of my morning consisted of putting up fanfold insulation on some walls. Despite constant hammer-pounding and cold, it was pretty peaceful, maybe calming (in a “stage crew” sort of way, like in high school when I discovered that painting flats and beating the crap out of things with hammers was very stress-relieving)… though tiring for my hands and arms.

It reminded me a bit of working on the grounds department at KMCN, except that the surrounding area was miles of country, not just a collection of flowerbeds and trees in the city. I will need to bring my camera and get some pictures of the rooms loading there, as well as the house and its environment.

A bluegrass band (Phillip Akemon and Flatlick) also came tonight. They were very good; I have a few pictures and short video clips (though Kirsten probably has most of it in a much higher-quality format).

I was talking to Lea and she told me she hated being around some of the Christians here… I don’t totally blame her, even if I don’t have the same view (yet). My view is that they are having a very positive outcome, and if they have to believe what they believe to achieve it, then so be it. They aren’t pushing beliefs on anyone else, so I can’t really criticize much.
30 PM?

Phillip Akemon
Phillip Akemon
Mike Morgeson

Mike Morgeson

Kevin Amburgey & Phil

Kevin Amburgey & Phil

Phil & Phil Jr.

Phil & Phil Jr.