First Month Recap

Post written by Fall 2017 intern, Gary Foresman
These first two weeks with Community Rebuilds has been completely inspirational and overall a wonderful experience. Getting to meet such an amazing community of people who are all driven to do amazing good and work with the Earth and those living on it in all the ways that we can express it has been a blessing.
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Week 1:
We started off going to the campus in Moab for several hours a day on what we are going to do: general construction information, building basics, etc. Our first full day on site was on Friday, and thank goodness it was one day before the weekend where we got to experience how hot and rough it can be and still have a pause that weekend. Everybody we are working with are just dolls, I must say, wonderful personalities and just incredible beings.
Beyond that, the week was mostly getting used to being at the house and with this great group of people. We have a sweet garden, two kitchens, three bathrooms, and some great hangout spots.
Over the weekend most of us ended up going to Durango, Colorado and camping for a night together which was also a life-changing experience for me. It was great to feel so supported by such new people and to explore my individuality as well. Such an incredibly beautiful place and it was definitely nice to be in a cooler environment for a moment. We even had our first community meeting that Sunday evening where we discussed some of our ambitions and needs for the following week.  I enjoy the communal formality/informality we have!

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Week 2:
We now begin our first full week on-site, and it is hot every day of it. We have started getting used to us all prepping our breakfasts and lunches gracefully and hectically together in the morning, and we also start making dinner for everybody in our designated groups as well. I must say that the food was awesome every day of it. We had two different nights with some delicious curries and another night was a taco bar which was conveniently coupled with a peach salsa with got from the CSA nearby. My group did a breakfast for dinner and I got to cook a huge amount of potatoes which I am gratefully inspired by my mother to make (one testimonial was that they were the best potatoes they have ever had). We have also started getting into the hang of going to the local food bank and other stores and restaurants that allow for us to pick up free food, which may include dumpster diving, which I am curious to try.
I feel really fortunate to have gotten to meet with the founder of Moab Solutions, a nonprofit that focuses on many of my passions including ecological restoration, trash cleanups, and homeless rights. I will be getting to work with her by doing some trash clean-ups starting soon. It is so wonderful to meet such a nice person and also witness someone being able to be supported doing the things that they are passionate about, and it inspires me to be able to do the same. I can see that is capable in my passions with this nonprofit.
​This weekend, we got to go to Oowah Lake, which was an adorable fishing pond surrounded by pines, mountains, wildflowers, creeks, and butterflies.

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Along with all of this, we have gotten to meet the founder of community rebuilds, and she is running for mayor! We also got to go to local lakes and rivers to cool off and have a good time with the interns and workers of Community Rebuilds. And go to an intern mixer with the Youth Garden Project, the CSA we get our food from and an awesome organization that teaches children about food production, permaculture, and other fun stuff. We feel really lucky that one of the homes we are building is for the family of the founder of this organization. Speaking of, the people we are building homes for and with are also great and it is wonderful to get to know, interact, and work with the homeowners of these projects.

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Week 3:
We got one of the foundations set and poured at the end of this week, ready for the other houses the beginning of next week!  Working has felt hard and tiring, and I have noticed that I need to work a little less hard to care for myself even though I very much do not want to.  The diverse roles available for such a large site and crew has been great with naturally coordinating tasks depending on want and capability.
We got to have a guest for dinner and have a dinner hosted for us at our Lead Builder’s home.
It was delicious and nerd-tastic when we had Melissa and Jeremy over for dinner on Tuesday.  The meal was beyond good thanks to Team 2, and then Jeremy walked us through the design of the Community Rebuilds campus garden, identifying the permaculture-based landscape along with culinary herbs, currants, peaches, and native and climate-appropriate plants.  He focuses on water management and is a part of protecting Bear’s Ears National Monument, a large expanse of land that may soon lose protection and funding pretty much so we can commercialize and reap the land currently owned and ruled by Native American tribes.
“The Bears Ears proposal was led by five Tribes—the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Ute Mountain Ute, and Ute Indian Tribes.”
We are planning on volunteering with SUWA the next few workdays he is hosting, and hopefully can help advocate for its continued protection.
Then getting to visit Lead Builder Jason Provonost’s home he and several Community Rebuilds workers built not too long ago.  He brewed some great beer and we have a design-your-own-pizza bar dinner while getting to chat with our fellow interns, home owners, Community Rebuilds employees, and others.
The weekend has also been lovely, getting to go to Warner Lake (well, pond) with Lena was a much needed space for us to have in this wonderful and ever-changing and supportive relationship.  We attempted to use a make-shift raft we found at the lake, explored the aspen forest, enjoyed the sunlight changing throughout the evening, and a small, fire-side chat while the full-ish moon rose in the sky.  This followed by a chill Sunday that included lots of sleeping in and vegging, as well as Lena investigating the bee boxes we have, me doing a touch of yard work, Lena going to the ceramic studio, and some good woodburning and communal playlist building.

Having this time and our newly established Food Stamps (thank you Utah) and our care package (1) upon care package (2), I think we definitely feel prepared for this next week.  Pouring this next foundation is going to be bruuutal though! Wish us luck this Tuesday.

Week 4:
Throughout the week, we finished the concrete foundation on the twin homes and started putting up the posts for the “shack in the back.”  It was satisfying to calculate, measure, bend, and cut the rebar for this more-complicated building.  I love getting to work those kinds of puzzles and it is always fun to work with these brilliant people.  This second time pouring the concrete for two houses took only 50% more time to complete, and with no faults.  Overall, it was quite a well-executed and mostly flawless project!
Tuesday evening, Maya, Solona, and I went to our first City Council meeting in Moab to see what this looks like.  I enjoyed it in various ways, including discussions on solar access considerations, greywater, sustainability proposals, and active movement towards fixing roads with the consideration of stormwater management.  Otherwise, it was utterly bland, stale from its “tradition.”  It would be lovely to have more in those experiences socially, but I was happy with what was at least progressing in this unknown world of mine called “the government.”
We have had some great visitors, including a couple that have built their own tiny home, and we have really developed quite the communal altar!  I even checked out the craft store with Linnea and Maya and saw quite an appealing wood and leather burner I felt inclined to take a pic of.  It was great to finish a line design with my current woodburner as well!  We had some great dinners, as always, and one day was a LARGE container of pasta salad, and my group made a whole, delicious Mediterranean spread.
Over the weekend, several of us met with Jeremy Lynch and Melissa Graciosa and took a trip to the La Sals (saying “the” and “La” sounds redundant).  Jeremy, one of the permaculture teachers with Community Rebuilds, also works with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA.org).  We built probably over a mile of new trails for hiking, running, and cycling in this incredible location, met impressive and sweet volunteers and teachers, ate delicious tacos and breakfast burritos, and watched the meteor shower.  I am very grateful to have gotten to do this, and I am also inspired to have a somewhat similar job (out of my many desired).  The people we met were amazing, including a past CR intern and a woman doing an anthropological study on those who go to National Forests.
I was able to get some photos from the first day, but left my phone the second.  It was such a beautiful place to work and camp.

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