“I can easily say this has been the toughest day yet, emotionally and physically.” Val Iturralde, ASB Day 3


Three chicks and one wall

I can easily say this has been the toughest day yet, emotionally and physically. Walking into a bare desolate house wasn’t quite the image I had illustrated in my head this morning. I had imagined a house like the one we had worked on the previous day, a place with only small adjustments to be made before it would once again be called “home”. But like many stories here in The Rockaways, these homes had started somewhere, and that somewhere was a lot like this place. This cold vacant space where people once lived, and memories and lives were once made, is a chilling reality for many. These houses may have looked like they were perfectly fine from the outside, but once you were in it was a whole different story.

After walking through the house and hearing about the man who once lived there, reality really set in for me. I could now imagine the pain and loss he was feeling, and that is something I will never forget.

Though the home was bare and quite in need of work, what was accomplished throughout the day was quite amazing. Who knew three girls who had zero experience in construction or hard labor could handle such big tasks, as well as execute them with perfection. As the sight supervisor told me, “You have quite a bright future as a carpenter.” Though my skills were pretty impressive for a girl who had never picked up a power tool, my abilities were meek compared to Donald’s. Donald was our brilliant supervisor, who reminded me of a mixture between Chuck Noris and Bob the Builder (if that could ever be an option). If I had a billion different types of problems, he had 2 billion and one different types of solutions. Besides his amazing skills and knowledge, his intense quirky personality really made our experience even more incredible and rewarding.

Though we had great supervisors to lead us along the way, struggles were still inescapable. One of the biggest obstacles we faced was getting a 4x8ft sheet of dry wall up on a ceiling. Now usually I am a hard-core feminist, but when faced with potential defeat, I revert back to societal pressures. I expected an ugly ending with three petite girls elevating a sheet of dry wall against a ceiling, but was pleasantly surprised with the end result. We had securely put in place sheets of dry wall on the ceiling with no help from any males; we were strong confident women now with a finished ceiling to show for it.

We all go to volunteer to change people’s lives, not knowing at the end of the day, that we will change as well. On ASB so far I have reached higher than I ever thought I would. I have done things I never thought I could, and that amazes me. I mean realistically, who ever thought that dry wall and three girls putting it up would be such a life changing experience for me? I surely didn’t.