It is very special and infrequent that we would be selected for a project in Miami. Since our campus is in Denver, we usually cover the Midwest and the only work we do outside our project area is for disaster relief. But this is a special case, the build in Miami has been selected as the yearly build off, the largest build of the year, and it includes a contest in which teams compete in building as many houses as they can in a week. I think the record last year was 6 finished houses in a week, quite amazing. So we will be working alongside other volunteers and college students in this large event. That is pretty much all I know so far. I will be leaving in 2 weeks, it will take us 4-5 days to drive to Miami and we will be there for approximately 6 weeks.
Many people are quite jealous that we got such a great project, there has been talk the past couple weeks about a project in Miami and everyone wanted to go one this one. Only 2 out of the 35 teams got selected, and our team leader was lucky enough to draw the first choice pick. I am really excited! I think I will actually miss the Denver weather; it’s been so comfortable here, 55 in the day, 40 at night and 300 days of sun. I think I am the rarity, since everyone is going out to buy bathing suits and can’t wait to get into the heat.
In other news this week we had our first day project. Our whole unit was sent to a state park to cut down Russian Olive trees which have become over abundant and prevent other vegetation from growing in the area. The process basically consisted of us running around the forest tagging trees, then we would cut off the small branches and such with bow saws and clippers, then we would try to flag down team leaders with chain saws to cut them down. After all of this, we paint the stump with chemicals and pick up every small branch and twig off the ground and send them off to be burnt, so these damn trees die and don’t regenerate and multiply like starfish. Sometimes we took it upon ourselves to cut the whole things down with the small bow saws. Its quite fun to see a tree that you have been hacking at for like half an hour to finally come crashing down with a lot of cutting and few pushes and kicks. We had so much fun at the state park that me and a bunch of other people are going back tomorrow to do garbage cleanup and other work as part of our ISP hours (we are required to do 80 additional hours of independent community service on top of the work we do this our groups).
One armed Chris & Syesha chemical painting
And on a light note, last weekend I visited the Celestial Seasonings tea factory in Boulder. This was awesome, they had a real cool factory tour and you are able to sample over 100 different types of tea. I was also in Boulder today with my team, we went hiking at Chattanooga State Park, which was beautiful, it was nice to do some real mountain hiking with some beautiful views. While hiking I met this dog Krusty that does community service. He found 3 people still alive and trapped underneath World Trade Center wreckage. Afterwards we walked around the downtown area, which is fantastic, an awesome collection of eclectic shops and coffee shops. There are tons of street performers and the area is gorgeous. It reminded me a little of the East Village and Ann Arbor, but less congested and more beautiful. Now everyone wants to move to Boulder after the program is over, I don’t blame them, it’s a great place.
My hero Krusty
That covers it for now. I started to befriend some of the Japanese students on campus despite the fact that they don’t speak any English. Yesterday I sang a Zebrahead song with one of their bands.