This is the story of the mighty repair crew who was charged with repairing the mud hut.
Last year’s second graders spent two months planning for and building a mud hut. They gathered sticks, dug holes, wove and tied sticks, learned how to make cob, and built walls. Over the summer, rain slowly wore down on the cob walls, leaving holes and a wall that nearly collapsed. Two weeks ago, Jener, one of the members of last year’s shelter team, told this year’s team about the work they had done and what was left to do. We were left with a clear mission: patch up the holes and strengthen the walls. And, if we can, build a roof.
And so Laila and Phoenix hauled clay, sand, a screen, buckets, tarps, and a kiddie pool to the courtyard. Leo dug up clay from a fallen tree in his backyard and brought it to school. Madison and Amy enlisted the help of our Pre-K friends to break up dried clay into tiny pieces. We were ready to build. Of course, on our first two-hour building day, the sky was ominous. As we pushed clay through a screen, cut up straw into smaller pieces, and mixed up the cob, the wind began to pick up. Marlon warned, “Watch out, it’s going to storm.” Seconds later, the sky opened and rain poured down on us. We took a vote: do we finish working today or do we go inside? With the resounding, “Finish!” we continued to mix the clay, sand, and straw, no longer having to add water as the rain filled the pool. We looked at each other’s faces and saw clay drip down our eyes, hair, and noses and couldn’t help but laugh at each other. Covered in mud, clay, and soaked through our shoes, socks, and shirts, we covered the hut with plastic bags and tarps and readied our materials for the next day. On Friday, we faced the windy, cold weather and pushed to finish patching the holes. Leo and Fiona went off to Fort Slocum with Leo’s mom to find sticks to prop up the leaning third wall. Dani, Asanti, Leo, and Fiona dug holes and tied sticks to the wall to strengthen it. Anna, Amy, Marlon, and Phoenix spent two hours patching holes. Ryan, Hernan, Maddison, and Tiffany broke up dried clay and made more cob for the walls.Through her laughter, and soaked shivers, Amy surmised it well, “This is the best worst day ever. I am so cold and wet but I am so happy.” This is a mighty perseverant crew.