Advice from a seasoned intern.

I originally moved to this beautifully strange town in the middle of Utah’s high alpine desert to work towards a tangible goal while escaping the monotonous pace of traditional college lecture coursework. After sixteen years of schooling I was over sitting in classrooms listing to someone blabber and hypothesize about make change happen meanwhile nothing ever changed. So I packed up my summer beach gear and moved from my cozy mountain home in Colorado to Moab, Utah. What I experience during my five-month stay will definitely impact me for the rest of my life.

As you might imagine Community Rebuilds attracts a variety of people from all walks of life. Our group in particular has the map covered from coast to coast, from the desert folks to mountain dwellers, from India to England, from business leaders to hippy tree huggers, and almost everything in-between. Surprisingly everyone living under one roof in confined quarters has been more than manageable. We take every opportunity to escape into the natural surroundings and enjoy the view of some reddish rocks (if your into that sort of thing).

Incredibly two straw bale houses have somehow taken shape, starting from the dirt and working our way up. This was all amazingly accomplished by a bunch of pencil pushing, awkward hammer holding amateur builders IMG_20151023_073935185_HDR.jpg

This of course would not have been possible without the knowledge, hindsight, and teaching skills of our builders and apprentices who have more than their fair share of responsibilities looking after sixteen interns.


Now in building as in life not everything goes as planned, IMG_20151008_150501978.jpg

sometimes your tractor falls in the very ditch you dug. But one main point of emphasis I’ve gathered from learning to build is when that happens do not freak out, its not the end of the world. If need be you can always dig yourself out, tear down your work and start over, or (my personal favorite) just slap another layer plaster over it. I can honestly say now after only five months that my hands can be used for more than holding onto a cup of coffee or typing on the computer but rather have transformed into tools that can manipulate materials into a desired fashion. In other words, I now have confidence in building shit!

Community Rebuilds is not just about work however, we like to take the time to maintain our beauty sleep,

do tai chi in the park, learn in classrooms, practice our stilts,  walking, bike and climb the red rocks, party in the desert sand, and all around not take life too seriously.

If you are into using your hands to transform some of wood and dirt into a home for appreciative families all the while building relationships with incredible people, then I just have two words for you, Community Rebuilds.

Alan DebsFall 2015 Intern

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