“During the process, it didn’t seem like there were a lot of visible changes, but the pictures proved otherwise.” ASB Day 4: Kyrstle Solano, Alejandro Velasquez & Ashleen Ulysse
It was the last day of the trip. We finished painting the back room, which looked awesome. The room looked so bright and open. After that, we tried putting in the drywall at the front room. I was still getting used to the drill, and it was getting frustrating at times. The screw had to go all the way in, so we wouldn’t have to mud around it later. But more often than not, the screw would stick out a bit. The screws at the top were the worst because I had to get on the ladder. There at least four instances where I almost fell! There were times where I would have totally rather mud around it than use the drill again. I didn’t want to keep asking Jeremiah (the supervisor) for help, and my teammates were having trouble as well. Eventually, though, we got it! We finished the day by going to the beach, where we took a bunch of Instagram-worthy pictures, and going to the Bungalow Bar, where I had some pretty good pasta.
During one of our breaks, Ashley showed us the “before” pictures of the house. During the process, it didn’t seem like there were a lot of visible changes, but the pictures proved otherwise. The house looks so much better. We sanded, mudded, primed, painted, and drywalled these walls. We looked around the rooms with pride. There were also so many things I learned during the trip, from all the tools that we used to the history of the Rockaways.
I also met such an amazing group of people. When we first started this process, we were told that this group would be our family for the trip. I didn’t believe them at first, but as I look back on all the conversations and laughs we had, I knew they were right. I remember telling some of the Pleasantville kids that they were the first Pleasantville students I met. As a freshman, I don’t have many opportunities to go up to the other campus, so hearing things about Pace from their perspective was cool.
I wish we stayed longer. I would have loved to have seen the house get completed. I’ll miss working with everyone. I’ll miss the cats. Thankfully though, I have a bunch of pictures and the paint on my boots to remember this trip, and I’ll always have the opportunity to return.
So, after a long three days of working relentlessly on a house, we finally finished and arrived home. It seems almost like a dream really, how the house still looked like a skeleton with only the wooden beams showing, until we arrived and gave it new skin. Now not a single piece of beam is showing. The drywall is completely up and the mudding began. For me, it was a weird experience to see the closet under the stairs and wall next to it come alive with drywall. It was quite the task to do the closet with the ridiculously hard slants. It had us doing math equations to figure out how to cut the slant out! However, after we succeeded, it was such a huge relief, but also a moment to reflect. We did it, we built a piece of the house to completion. It was strange for me because I am not a person who likes to help people, it’s just not in my DNA to help. However, after helping build a house for a family in need, well it felt really damn great to do an act of kindness. I am actually considering going again next year simply because I had a lot of fun building the house and met some great people along the way!
This week has definitely been a life-changing experience! Today was sad because we had to leave the Rockaways, but what makes me happy is that everyone was satisfied with their work and most are excited to return to the Rockaways in the near future. I am honored to have been a part of the Oyebola house rebuilding and even though the house is not complete I can feel like we spring breakers have made a huge impact in the life of the family.