Growing up in Moab, all I wanted to do was to leave as soon as I graduated high school. Moab was my normal and it wasn’t really that exciting. It was such a small town with soooo many rocks! Don’t get me wrong, I had a good childhood and came from a family that loves being outside. From hiking with my dad, to camping trips with my mom, and riding bikes with my uncles. I actually did a lot more outdoor activities than other kids. But still, I just wanted out! I thought somewhere else would give me that kind of comfort that I was looking for. That kind of place that I am welcomed into the community… I never found it. I felt lost and a little hopeless that I would never find what was in my head as the “Perfect Place”. I had to come back home because I was broke and needed to get back on my feet with the support of my family. When I first came back it was rough, I felt like like I was not making it in the real world and everybody would be disappointed in me with moving back. I started hiking and riding bikes again, I made friends with people who I didn’t go to high school with. I realized, THIS is my community. THIS is where I’m comfortable. THIS is my perfect place. It’s not the small dusty town that I remembered when I was young. It was an amazingly beautiful place that is my home.
By the time that I had figured out that I wanted to be here, in my community of Moab, so did everyone else. Housing prices drastically increased, and Air BnBs took over. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to afford or find a house here. I put that to the back of my head and kept renting. Prices just kept going up and up. After a few really awful rentals I decided it was time to really try and figure out how to get my own house! The work wages are really low for how high the housing is in this area. So feeling a little defeated, I turned to a someone who I’ve looked up to for a long time, Emily. She just so happened to be the director of Community Rebuilds that works with USDA Rural Development Loan program. She told me that I was the perfect kind of candidate for the program.
I added my name to their list. This was it! My chance for a home in my home. Rikki took over the program and Emily was on her political path. I was on the list for a while, I had quite a bit of medical debt that I had to pay down for my debt to income ratio. Rikki helped me with every step to make sure I was meeting all the pre-requirements. She would constantly make sure I was still on track of getting everything in order. That’s what I needed, the guidance and knowledge of the program. When I finally got the call that I was up next to build, I cried those happy tears. I knew I would finally feel that comfort and security of my own.
We then started to work with USDA for the loan process. That’s when I started working with Naomi! What a blessing! She worked so hard to make sure that I could build the home I’ve always wanted.
Just when I didn’t think things could get any better, the interns, builders and apprentices showed up. Wow! What amazing people to be able to come to the middle of nowhere to learn about natural building and help me build my home! Pure selflessness. I made the most amazing connections with some now lifelong friends. They helped with daily struggles from not being able to use a hammer correctly and not being able to square concrete forms, to design and color choices. They made the building process so much more personable.
Community Rebuilds program was perfectly structured. The budget was established, the timeline was 5 months. We had our weekly meetings (therapy), that made sure we were ordering things on time and things going smoothly. That 5 months went by so fast! When the end came, I had an amazing home with all of the personal touches of everyone who helped me build! One year ago I had no idea I would be sitting here. What an experience!