It is a bittersweet ending, looking back over the past few months, thinking about how much hard work we put into a house, just to walk away and hope that our clients care for their new home with as much care as we put into designing and building it. But after getting to know and working alongside Caroline and Joely these past months, I have no doubt they will cherish their home and relish it more than we can possibly imagine.
On the last Sunday of our semester, we all gathered with our friends and family in the house, along with Caroline and Joely’s friends and family to celebrate and bless the house. A medicine man facilitated the blessing of all four directions in the house – east, south, west, and north. Then we all showed our families around, took pictures, and ate lunch together. Caroline and Joely also presented each of us students with special gifts that they made including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bouquets, and pillows! We felt so honored to receive gifts and be thanked so graciously by our clients. Caroline’s ability to speak to her own struggle about finding a way to provide her family with a home, and her eventual discovery of the sweat equity program and DesignBuildBLUFF, brought tears to our eyes and a true sense of appreciation for the privileges we were brought up with.
The whole year has been a learning experience for me in so many ways. I have had the joy of meeting life long friends, sharing days of hard work and play, and practicing skills I’ve always wanted to learn. The challenges of communicating complex plans and processes, long nights, finding the mental and physical strength, and working in a community where I felt like an outsider were all stepping stones toward a greater sense of belonging and confidence in my own abilities. Looking back after several days since being in Bluff, I feel lucky to have taken part in the exciting work of Dennehotso Chapter Sweat Equity and DesignBuildBLUFF.
Our esteemed photographer, videographer, and fellow DesignBuildBLUFFer Jaebeom spent many days and nights documenting our efforts and I wanted to thank him for all the beautiful photos and videos you might have seen throughout the build. For the final party in Bluff, he unveiled this video which documents the whole process of the house from foundation to finish. It’s documentation like this that makes the project even more exciting to friends and family, and has become invaluable for me in communicating with others about what the project has meant to me. Please enjoy!
We have also been working on a compiled building journal which will hopefully provide future DBB classes and Dennehotso Chapter Sweat Equity with helpful information about our construction timeline, budget, etc. for future builds. Look out for a post in the near future with the building journal published in digital format!