Global Village tackles ‘Ele‘ele red dirt

‘ELE‘ELE — Cass Schiedel’s knees were already stained with the notorious red dirt as she crawled beneath the floor of the house Monday.

Schiedel is one of three Canadians who arrived with the Global Village volunteer crew to work on the Habitat for Humanity’s ‘Ele‘ele project this week.

Team leader Angela Wright of Utah said they lost little time getting to work, spending several hours Sunday before settling in for a full day’s work Monday.

“We have the three Canadians among the 19 volunteers who came here,” Wright said.

“This is my third Habitat project. I was here in 2005 with Jack and Susan Gardner, the other team leaders, and that was my first project.”

On Wright’s first trip, her crew spent Thanksgiving working on the Habitat project, but still enjoyed some Hawaiian-style holiday fixings.

Coming from California to New Hampshire and several places in between, American volunteers worked alongside Canadians and Rajah Pubanendra, of Sri Lanka, who flashed a big smile after the nail he was wrestling with finally came free in one of the houses.

“What do you call this?” Vickie Lyon of Houston wanted to know as she hefted a framing hammer. “It’s so heavy.”

Lyon, whose crew was installing drywall on the ceiling of one of the houses along with Pubanendra, was initiated into the world of the screw gun and discovered it was a lot easier to anchor the drywall sheets with the gun rather than trying to heft a heavy hammer to the ceiling.

“With the exception of about five or six, the rest of the group are newbies,” Wright said. “This is their first Habitat project.”

Jack and Susan Gardner are no strangers to leading Global Village teams on Habitat projects; he patiently worked with the volunteers in learning how to use the mitre saw and lining up studs, and she discovered a new talent — jiggling the power cord the right way means instant power.

As Susan Gardner jiggled, Carolyn Bailey used a drill to line up the flooring anchors for the eventual bolts that would secure the flooring assembly.

“We’re all excited to be here,” Wright said. “We have a lot of activities lined up.”

That said, Wright returned to the task of working with Bob McNamara, the Habitat for Humanity project manager for the ‘Ele‘ele site.

“We’re going to measure out a buffer zone for landscaping,” McNamara said. “That will keep the project buffered from the highway.”

As the team prepared to depart, Wright, who noted it was a lot cooler on this trip, said, “If you want, you can always join us for lunch. We’ll be at the West Kaua‘i Episcopal Church. I think a church is contributing lunch for us.”

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