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It was a busy start for2023 here in Eastern Kentucky.  Starting on the 3rd of January the long-term team started arriving to get acquainted with the area and each other and to get prepared for the work of repairing homes.  Our coordinator Clete was here to help us get on our feet.  We came together from Manitoba, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Germany and after a few days of working together we felt we were ready for our first week of volunteers. We welcomed a group of 14 young men and women to the project, all cousins, who wanted to do something together and make a difference in someone’s life.  We were all strangers at the beginning of the week, but as is usual on an MDS project, all friends by the time they left for home. There was much hard work, new skills and games played and learned, singing and accordian music, and of course much laughter and fun.  There were sightings of elk and deer, and a couple of volunteers even managed to corral a couple of horses that had gone astray.

At Edith’s house there was much activity and her house is much closer to done than it was at the beginning of the week.  The cabinets were installed, there was mudding and taping and sanding, then primer put on and walls painted.  The trim and doors got painted and installed, and there was plenty of plumbing work done, fridge and microwave installed, and some cleaning.  Edith came by and the volunteers got to meet her.  She told them interesting stories of her life and even left a book that she had written about her life for them to read.

At Lee’s there were water leaks to be found and fixed, toilets to install, and of course the work of mudding, sanding, priming and painting in all the rooms.  There was trim painted and put up around the windows, and some flooring put down in the bathroom before the week was done.  Lee is around quite often, and the volunteers enjoyed their interaction with him.

There were two days spent working at Tamara’s home doing baseboard and window trim, installing a shower and caulking some loose shingles on the roof.

We also helped here at camp.   Various volunteers helped with cleaning up debris, fixing up a cabin floor and mudding and sanding and other repair work in a house at the camp that had been flooded.

There were also many plans put in place for a new home start, and the concrete was poured for the foundation.

And so, the week passed and though it seemed that it was slow progress, still by the end of the week it could be seen that completion was getting closer, and the volunteers left with a feeling of work well done and joy in the doing of it.

From Eastern KY, Kerry, Jo, Andrew, Peter, Hannah, Jonas, Aaron, MaryAnn, Marie, Nettie, Janette, Charity, RuthAnn, Janette, Andrew, Ronnie, Galen, Jeffery, Jordan, Eugene, Joshua, Lori

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