Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 -- Love shared -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2007 -- Love shared

Marilyn Todd from Lexington, Kentucky.

There is a willingness to love at JCWP that takes Habitat homeowner families by surprise.

Volunteers arrive with a heart for homeowners.

“It’s like they started loving us before they ever met us, “ Mar’ Lyn Bland said. Homeowner Barbara Wallace called it “just a loving environment.”

Homeowners say they begin to feel a responsibility to live up to love. They will smile beautifully at people because the distinct blue T-shirts homeowners wear make them recognizable to volunteers.

Even if they’re weary from work, if you catch their eye, the smiles come to connect you.

Some of that earnest affection bubbles out as humor: A woman passing by was chastised by a house leader for looking all too gloomy. She laughed and smiled. You hear a lot of laughter breaking the tension of construction work.

Some of it is physical: lifting, painting, hauling, working together seem to lead to hugs of hello and goodbye. It’s made me think we are a society hungry for love. As though we long for an excuse to genuinely cherish each other. Habitat makes families and volunteers less vulnerable in this strange new atmosphere because everyone is in it together.


Paint also

What most everyone wears at JCWP is paint. A festive blotch was on at least 10 noses in various houses yesterday. Probably on more, but I stopped counting noses.

It splatters hair and beards, hands, jeans, T-shirts. Perhaps 90 percent of the people I’ve talked to are sporting some sort of paint. If a volunteer isn’t painting anything, paint will nevertheless find its way to body parts or pants.

Exterior paint is going up on the houses in San Pedro. The first paint was green, but different houses seemed to have different greens. A pale yellow door appeared and disappeared. Then a sort of taupey brown appeared on another house, followed by a gray on another. The architect inspected and then disappeared. Speculation about the final colors is rampant.

Vermont on parade

President Carter and celebrity builders left San Pedro behind to build on the Vermont Avenue site Wednesday.