KAPAHI — As quick as she slathered on the paint, the tiny ants tracked over it.
Laurel Williams complained the fast ants were clogging up her paintbrush as she painted Friday.
Working from beneath the eaves of the Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity’s Kapa‘a transitional housing unit, Williams is one of 16 volunteers from the Abilene Christian University who completes their week’s stay here Saturday.
“Today is our last workday,” said Justin Ruiz, the team leader for the ACU Spring Break Campaign. “Friday is a free day, Saturday we start packing. We get home Sunday and start school Monday.”
Ruiz said the group comprised of five young men, nine young ladies, all arrived here last Saturday. They were accompanied by Cole Bennett, a professor from ACU, Laura Gore, an ACU alumni who wanted to come on the trip, and Scott Self, the minister at the Honolulu Church of Christ.
KEO became the beneficiary of the group’s annual visit when the Honolulu church had no pending projects, and on checking with the Lihu‘e Church of Christ, made the connection with KEO to provide facelifts for two of its transitional housing units.
Working between rainy days, sleeping in the Lihu‘e CC pews, the group worked to complete the KEO Lihu‘e unit, worked on the inside of the Lihu‘e church, and refused to give up on its third project — the KEO Kapa‘a unit, despite the deluge Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
That gave the group time to enjoy some of the island’s offerings by relaxing on the beach and working on getting tans to bring back to Texas when they leave Saturday.
“We’ve been able to have fun,” Ruiz said. “We work, but we can still enjoy some time at the beaches, too.”
Ruiz said the men have been sleeping on the pews at the Lihu‘e Church of Christ while the young ladies have been hosted by families of the church.
“ACU sends groups all over,” Ruiz said. “Most of the groups have about 20 students, but there is one group that has 30 students.”
In between applying coats of paint in the Thursday sunshine, strains of a capella Christian music filled the quiet Kapa‘a residential area, and residents of the unit spent part of their morning routine chatting with the student volunteers.
“You gotta use bug spray,” one resident suggested to Williams’ ordeal with the fast ants.
But with no bug spray in sight, Williams simply doused the critters with insect repellent.