Measure Twice, Cut Once
Changing the world one 2x4 at a time
Freshly cut grass, newly painted walls, and the constant sound of a hammer were all elements present on July 6, 2017 as seventeen UGA students decided to take time to aid a community that they knew nothing about. Former allegations of Magnolia Terrace had labeled it as a common area for drug dealers, but the students’ main focus was to bury this misconception with hard work to reshape the community to its true potential.
On day one, I started out cutting back hedges behind the houses. After about twenty minutes, one of the workers from Germany ask me if I would be willing to cut grass around the neighborhood. I started at the end of the street and worked my way up. I was careful to pick up any rocks or anything else that might get in my way or mess up the blade. After an hour and a half, I had cut between two houses as well as five lawns.
By the end of the day, I was tired but proud of the work I had done. I had come into the first day not knowing what to expect. I had worked with Habitat for Humanity in the past, but most of the work I had done was painting and smaller work. I soon realized that since we only had three days to work, we had to make the most out of those days. After the first day, I had a better understanding of what was expected from me and what type of work we were going to do.
The second day, Doug, the work site leader, told me that I would be helping dig a ditch in between the houses. Although this job was more stationary and harder labor than the previous week, it was nice to be able to talk to the other students while digging. The conversation helped make the work easier and brought us closer together as classmates. We worked under the supervision of Phil, one of the workers from Germany, who told us stories about his hometown to help pass the time. After some time had passed and the ditch was dug, Doug instructed some of the people to help move newly delivered tin from the bottom of the hill to the roof. We stacked three or four pieces of tin at a time to help speed up the process but it also made the pieces of tin a lot heavier. Luckily, we had four people helping move each stack of tin, so the job went by fairly quickly. Coming off of day two, I was glad I was able to get to know my classmates better and have the opportunity to work with them.
Day three was my favorite day of the experience. I went to work with Cade and Joel as we worked on removing a facia board and then replaced part of the roof with a new piece of wood. On day three, I felt like I learned the most about construction as I was able to get some advice from Joel: measure twice, cut once. Doug also came by and ask Cade (Biology) and me (Criminal Justice) about our intended majors as he did some measurements for the new board we were going to install.
After working on the house, all of the students got back together and took a group photo. Doug wrapped up the experience by talking to all of us about how the work we had done would have a positive impact on the community. As I reflect on day three, I believe it was the most enjoyable day for me as I finally had the opportunity to work on a house. Construction has always been interesting to me and I have always wanted to know what goes into building and fixing houses. Although I may never possess the knowledge that Joel has on construction, I was happy to have the opportunity to learn from him and have this experience that I will always remember.
As I look back on the experience altogether, I am grateful that I learned new skills that can be applied in the future while also helping out a community in need. I was lucky enough to be a part of a class that worked on this site and I think this activity brought us closer toward the common goal of working for a good cause. These three days of working with the Habitat of Humanity taught me the necessity of hard work. When a group that is determined to make a difference puts their mind to a project, anything is possible.