The following post was written by Global Exchange’s G.E.L.T. (Green Economy Leadership Training) program participant Kate Powers:

Today, Matt, Lauren, Mike, Dan (a resourceful new addition to the program), and I went over to Grove Street determined to gut the whole house. Our biggest challenge: the feces-covered basement. It was decided that since we were in this together, we would all work on the basement together. All five of us, armed with our shovels, attacked the basement full force. Once we completely scraped up the floor, Mike, Matt, and Dan began disassembling the musty couch and moving the washing machine and other large items upstairs while Lauren and I swept up the dirt and threw away all the trash. The task of cleaning the basement seemed difficult but it took us less than an hour to complete. It’s true when they say many hands make light work.

Next, we tackled the second floor. The group cleaned out the back room, swept, and ripped up the remaining carpets. In a relatively short time we got a great amount accomplished. As inspiring and enriching the G.E.L.T. workshops and lectures are, the physical gratification that comes along with the Operation We Squat group project is unmatched. We had a sense of accomplishment driving back from Grove Street. Having the house gutted was a morale boost… However, there is still much to be done.

The top three issues that need to be addressed are as follow:
1)   Replace foundational support beam in the basement
2)   Repair roof
3)   Plumbing/Bathtub

Making the house functional is an intimidating task, but in the face of this challenge I just think about how daunting of a task gutting out the house was and how we were able to accomplish it. All we can do is face each challenge as it comes while supporting one another and the community.

Until next time,