Gallatin Valley Habitat for Humanity
Our 2 weeks building with Gallatin Valley Habitat in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana was a very unique experience for Tom and I, both challenging and incredibly rewarding. Beginning with the wonderful part: Maria, the homeowner, visited the site every day, bringing us homemade lunches along with one or more of her 3 adorable boys during her lunch hour. The first day the boys and I reviewed the plans, matching them up to the layout chalked on the concrete so that they could choose their bedrooms. Interestingly, closet size turned out to be the determining factor rather than views. Tom and I loved spending time with them and are so grateful we were able to work on their house.
While the opportunity to see Maria and the kids was wonderful, other aspects of this build were a challenge for us. The Gallatin Valley Habitat affiliate is located 90 miles away from the town of West Yellowstone which meant the construction supervisor only visited the site briefly twice a week and that the regular local volunteers (who were awesome to work with) could only make the trip once during our time there. The lack of people working resulted in slow progress and there were many delays in materials being delivered. For Tom and I – the only 2 Care-A-Vanner volunteers that had signed up for the 2 week period – it meant not only a lot of waiting but that we worked alone and unsupervised most days. Thankfully Tom has a great deal more Habitat construction experience than I and so together we were able to complete many of the jobs despite lack of direction and instruction. Our tasks included building the two porches, sealing the foundation, nailing in windows and headers, checking the pre-built interior walls, flashing and trimming out the windows, foam-insulating over the headers, and running trim and drip edge around the exterior. Still, we were disappointed that we couldn’t make greater progress toward completing the house for Maria and her sons.