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Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003
A banner welcomes participants to the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Valdosta, where construction work began on Saturday.
The Building Begins

By week's end, 92 housing units will be completed

Volunteers from around the United States and the rest of the globe descended on three towns in two states to kick off Habitat for Humanity's Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003 over the weekend. By the time they finish up their work on Friday, 92 housing units in LaGrange and Valdosta, Ga., and in Anniston, Ala., will be awaiting their new occupants. Here's a quick weekend recap from each site:

Anniston: 35 houses

"Anticipation" was the word best describing the mood among JCWP participants in Anniston on Sunday. With building set to kick off bright and early Monday morning, volunteers spent the weekend settling into their dorm rooms at Jacksonville State University and speculating on what the building days ahead will bring.

Sunday night's opening ceremony provided a taste of the camaraderie and excitement that most people expect will fill the week.

As building gets under way today, Anniston volunteers and homeowners are excited--and confident that they can easily catch up to the "head start" that the LaGrange and Valdosta sites got over the weekend.

LaGrange: 32 housing units

It was raining when they arrived, and it was raining when they left--tired, wet and muddy, but very proud of the day's accomplishments.

Despite nearly continuous rainfall and up to five inches of mud in some locations on site Saturday, volunteers and homeowners in LaGrange raised walls on all 21 houses being built this week in the Hillside Place neighborhood and made significant progress in raising roof trusses, as well.

The walls were already on site in pre-built panels; theoretically, putting them in place and nailing them to the slabs should have been a straightforward task. However, the few chalk lines not washed away by rain were soon obscured by mud.

Many volunteers returned to the build site on Sunday. By 11 a.m., the sun was peeking out behind the clouds and volunteers broke for a church service in the dining tent.

Volunteers raise a wall at house #40 at the Valdosta site.

Valdosta: 25 houses

The rain that began Thursday hardly dampened the spirit with which some 1,000 volunteers from 39 states and eight countries began the Jimmy Carter Work Project in Valdosta. About 40 percent of volunteers live in Valdosta, with the remaining 60 percent coming from more distant locations.

Regardless of there they live, volunteers arrived on site Saturday morning to encounter concrete foundations, pre--built framework and walls--and mud deep enough to swallow a boot. By mid--afternoon, a steady rain provided a wet backdrop for the equally steady construction progress.

Will Ruttencutter, construction project manager, said the weather hadn't made a serious impact and that the "big hearts of the volunteers have kept the pace" regardless.

The rain persisted at the Valdosta site Sunday--coming "on and off like a faucet," said one participant-but the construction pace continued. By mid-afternoon, volunteers had put up Blueboard on almost all the houses and two-thirds of the houses had covered roofs

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