Monday, 02 March 2009
I think that this ASB (Alternative Spring Break) trip has been a good time to cement friendships and make some new ones. It’s also been a good way to get away from the intellectual constraints of Rice, away from arguing for the sake of arguing, and spend time in Christian community; just to bring up those topics which are so important, but aren’t talked about very much in normal conversation – God, salvation, His glory in nature, Christian service.
We continued on the same house today. I worked mainly in the bathroom, tearing out sheetrock. Unfortunately, the entirety of the sheetrock was backed by wood, which meant that we had to chip away at the stuff with the claw ends of crowbars and hammers, instead of just bashing it in between studs and watching it crumble. The ceiling was a killer. Grossest part: me taking apart a light/fan fixture with half an inch of dust on top. Wow.
Speaking of gross, we talked about the grossest parts of our day as a team, which quickly devolved into a listing of epic elements of our three days so far, including: termites, brown recluses, scarabs (imaginary), medical containers, boats, kitchen trash, fans, dust, sulphuric water, bleach, crowbars, sledgehammers, and basement possums and mold monsters.
Originally, the house owner, whom I’ll call Mr. G, had asked us to clear out the basement, but when some of our team started going down there, the brother-in-law started getting nervous. He had earlier tried to head us off with a story about possums living down there, but this time he started saying how he didn’t want people going through the trash and “finding things” and getting Mr. G in trouble. Right.
Slightly fishy, we thought. We ended up talking to Mr. G and saying that if he really wanted the basement cleaned out, we would send a team, but he should probably talk to his brother-in-law and ask him to take his “stuff” out – whatever it was that was making him uncomfortable. Apparently it’s volunteer policy or whatever to stay completely uninvolved in odd business.
We found out more about Mr. G himself – he was a garbage collector for the City of Galveston for sixteen years, before he hurt his back and couldn’t work anymore. His pension is extremely small, and his only other source of income is from renting out another property. His house, where he and a few of his extended family live, has some mold and leakage problems, none of which he can repair until he gets his insurance money, and apparently the mortgage company is doing something funky with it. His wife is in the nursing home (not hospital) with an amputated leg. All in all, he’s just above the poverty line, and things don’t look too great for him – he’s on dialysis as well. Fortunately his neighbors seem to care about him, and come and check on him and things like that – yet one more person on Galveston that should not be forgotten.