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Finding warmth despite the rain


Soggy weather did not stop these Women Build volunteers in North Conway, New Hampshire.

National Women Build Week: North Conway, New Hampshire

We live in the mountains of New Hampshire, where spring comes late. In recent years, we have still had patches of snow on the ground during Mother’s Day weekend, so we scheduled our Mount Washington Valley Women Build for the last possible date.

Still, our build day dawned grey and cold. The forecast included a 100 percent chance of showers for morning and chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. We decided that since it was only misty, we would set up tarps over the power tools and hold the day anyway. And our volunteers still came out, too; twenty-nine volunteers came in spite of the forecast. Most were wearing long underwear and raincoats!

This year we had been able to prepare for the event by holding a couple of very informative Lowe’s “How-To” clinics. The women felt much more qualified after taking the clinics, and more than one asked if they could hold one or two for their husbands!


Volunteers hammering away on the frames for the Gagnon family’s Habitat house.

We spent the morning working to build the walls of the house for Louisa Gagnon and her three young children, Basil, Zoey and Isabella. The family’s previous home burned down last summer. This Mother’s Day weekend, Gagnon’s mom and a friend joined her on site; they all arrived early so that Gagnon could greet the other participants. Before the day ended, several women wrote well-wishes and quotes on the walls they built to surround the Gagnon family.

Not long after the opening ceremony, one of the showers came in … but no one complained. In fact, many expressed appreciation.

One participant has already e-mailed this to the rest of the Women Build participants: “Yes it was raining and cold—but it was sure nice to have all of us out there and have the chance to do something nice for someone. I am glad I got a chance to meet Louisa […]. All the men were soooo patient and nice and great teachers! This was my first Women Build, and I’m looking forward to helping next year.”

Five other volunteers quickly replied in like form. The warm feeling we had—doing something for another—made each of us want to stay.

Jill Reynolds is a board member and Women Build coordinator with Mount Washington Valley Habitat for Humanity. You can learn more about Mount Washington Valley Habitat at