So much information has been packed into our heads since we started here. Luckily we've created our own group of friends so that made the endless meetings more bearable.
The first week was all meetings. All day every day. Very informative but way too long.
The second week consisted of driving the vans, exploring Denver and the surrounding area, going without power in the dorms for a day, a soccer tournament (which my team won, obviously) and our first service project.
Throughout this entire time we've been switching teams and team leaders every two days or so. It's been a great way to meet other people in our unit and to familiarize ourselves with the different team leaders. So far I like all of the team leaders and most of the people I've met so hopefully my permanent team (which we find out this Friday) will reflect my experiences thus far.
Last Friday our entire unit went to the mountains near Fort Collins to help with wildfire relief for VOC (Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado). The land we were working on was private land that had been severely burned in the fires this past June. A large portion of the land (and the entire area I was working on) was mountainous so the potential for erosion is incredibly high. This is a situation that needs to be attended to for many reasons, primarily to protect the water quality in the area - something I have no experience with:). Most of the hillside was covered in about an inch or so of soot. It was an amazing and horrifying sight. In some places the line between the burnt and non-burnt trees was so distinct that it looked fake.
Our task was to spread seed across large sections of the slope. We accomplished this by first raking the hill to access the soil underneath the soot. We then dispersed a tree and grass seed mixture everywhere. More raking and then we covered the whole area in straw, to protect the seeds through the harsh Colorado winter. It was quite moving to see how much we could get done in one day. On our walk down the mountain (we got a ride up but had to walk 45 minutes down back to the vans) we caught several glimpses of hill after hill covered in hay.
It was a long and very dirty day (our clothes and skin were covered in ash and straw was in every pocket) but it was great to be a part of it. The homeowner was so grateful for our help and it was just wonderful to be part of such a fantastic group effort.
The weekend was spent hanging out in Denver with Lauren and Amanda - a very nice way to wind down after a busy and physical week.
Today we had medical checks and drug tests then went to work at the Food Bank of the Rockies. We did a variety of tasks from assembling and packaging orders, tidying the warehouse and cleaning some of their shipping carts. As with the wildfire relief, it was really nice to be part of a group service effort. It has given me a glimpse of what the next 9 months will be like and I can not wait.
Potentially I will find out this Friday where and what my first project will be. Fingers crossed it's exciting!