November 25-December 1, 2018
Habitat for Humanity
Taos, New Mexico
13 SHS students and 4 teachers travelled to Taos, New Mexico over final exam week to participate in Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge.
Despite Taos’s reputation as a tourist destination and second home location, the general population is finding it increasingly difficult to rent or purchase homes at a reasonable rate. The city estimates that over 90% of the population is unable to afford housing. Habitat’s Taos affiliate, therefore, is proud of its role in building over 30 homes in the community.
During the week of service, the students and staff worked for over 30 hours at the largest home Habitat has built in the area. At just over 1,100 square feet, the 4 bedroom house will be inhabited by the Jeffs family. Tamar Jeffs and her 6 children relocated to Taos two years ago, following a family tragedy, to live with Tamar’s sister in a two bedroom apartment. As a house cleaner, student, and mother, Tamar has been unable to provide her children with the space they need.
Students spent the week priming and painting the entire interior of the house, stuccoing the shed, landscaping, and preparing worksites for the next two Habitat houses.
The group visited Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO world culture site. With a local guide, Summer, students learned about the history of the native Taos population, the struggles to maintain individual and cultural rights, and the decision by President Nixon to repatriated the land to the native population. Today, over 500 families live in the Pueblo without electricity or running water, as their relatives did as much as 1000 years ago.
Additionally, the group hiked to a local hot springs at the base of the Rio Grande, visited the Chimayo Historic Site and walked around the Greater World Earthship Community (Yup, it’s real).