...Kentucky that is, mountains and hollers...
Departing about one week ago (5/31/2009) a group of 9 youth and 6 adults left The Fellowship and went to Beverly, Kentucky; home of The United Methodist Church's Redbird Mission.
After driving 90 miles in 2.5 hours we finally arrived in, what one mission employee described by mimicking visitors looking for a cell phone signal, as "The Wilderness." Redbird Mission is located in a holler along the banks of the Redbird River and contains a pharmacy, a craft store, a dental and medical clinic as well as the work camp and a second hand clothing store.
This would be my first trip with the youth as an adult, as well as my first mission trip since South Dakota in 2003. Shortly after arriving we took a very short hike up behind one of the barns and saw the waterfall pictured here. It is kind of hard to tell from this picture but the rocks surrounding the falls have been yellowed by the sulfur that has leached out from the coal rich mountains.
Monday morning we started our work project. We where assigned to a house about 30-40 minutes away from the mission owned by a 76 year old lady named Dela Brown. Our job was to rip up carpet in the hall and replace the particle board which was very rotten, and to replace 8 windows with new more energy efficient windows.
To under take this project we formed into what was essentially 2 groups with part of us tackling the flooring and the other part working on the windows. I spent most of my time working on the window crew, although I did work some on Monday and Friday with the flooring crew.
The flooring crew had to initially rip up the carpet in the hall, assess the damage to the floor, rip it up and the assess the damage to the sub floor. The sub floor was left in place although they did have to place shims under the new plywood in a couple of places because some of the beams had settled between 1/4 and 3/4 inches around another beam so this was shimmed up and the plywood was placed on top of it with linoleum placed atop that. (This wasn't completed until Thursday afternoon, with the trim around the floor and doors being put back up Friday, that was my Friday job with them) They also had to rip up the linoleum in the bathroom and replace it, which was all done on Thursday.Of course this meant that the toilet had to be removed and the seal on it replaced, which entailed moving it outside and cleaning the old wax ring out of it.
Working for the window crew we were ripping old windows out by cutting through the old layers of caulk the get to the screws for the metal exterior frame that held the screen in place, then ripping all the interior window trim out of the house. After we did this we had to use a circular saw and cut two lines through the sill so we could remove the middle to pry out the edges since whoever installed them had been a little over zealous with the staples that held it to the frame. We then fit the windows into the openings and proceed to use shims to force it into place, before we screwed it in. Then 2 people came along and using spray foam and caulk sealed up the window. Next we cut and installed the interior and exterior trim, and primed and painted it.
Over all the work project went very well and it seems that Ms. Brown was very satisfied with it.
To me one of the biggest problems on our trip was the quality of food we where served in the cafeteria, I only counted three meals as being good, the rest I would rate as so-so to yuk (the yuk being spaghetti which I am not a big fan of anyway.)
Of course I am frequently told that I am to picky/snobbish when it comes to my assessment of food, and that it was perfectly good cafeteria food. I don't know that I have ever considered cafeteria food good, although the cafeterias at MTSU weren't that bad, and UT's were also better, so I don't know where these people get their ideas of good food. (Interestingly enough, this disgusting looking plate of stuff is actually one of the meals that I labeled as good, biscuits and sausage gravy. YUM!)