Detroit Secrets

by Alison Tune  

IMG_3359Debris Paneling Sanitize

Debris Paneling Sanitize

Debris Paneling Sanitize

Mucking and gutting may be one of the more repetitive volunteer activities. Occasionally there is a small difference, a blip that makes the day a little different. But for the most part, the same procedure is followed each time with little variation. If this were the entirety of our time in Detroit, every crew member would have probably turned into a muck and gut zombie, fed on moldy drywall and reeking cardboard boxes. Fortunately there is a variable that is ever changing, the homeowners themselves. They are the reason we are volunteering in the first place, and they are the most exciting part of the muck and gut cycle. I am constantly reminded each day how much they appreciate the work we are able to complete.From hugs to delicious Lebanese cookies, their kindness overflows even though they could easily have been bitter about the amount of time it has taken to get volunteers to their homes, or the lack of national media attention.

On Monday, we worked on a homeowner's basement for the entire day. It started with a bite on one of our crew members hands by a dog and ended with exhaustion. But these minor details were all overshadowed by the sweetness of the elderly woman who was unable to work on the basement herself. She hugged each of us and even said a prayer over the team. Even more astounding, this sort of homeowner-crew interaction is not abnormal. Detroit has welcomed the AmeriCorps volunteers into their homes, eaten meals with the teams, and in some cases helped with the basement work themselves. I never thought I would love mucking and gutting basements so much.