by Rose Lopez, 2022 Construction Coordinator in Tsaile, AZ
It was an absolute joy working as a Construction Coordinator in the Navajo Nation last summer. With the help of 136 volunteers over five weeks, we completed 11 home repair projects: one deck, two ramps, two sets of stairs, two roofing projects, one woodshed, and three awnings.
“Winter in the Navajo Nation comes with large amounts of rain and snow, so safe ways to access the home, water-tight roofs, and wood storage are essential.”
All of these projects were high-impact for homeowners. For many residents in the Navajo Nation, wood is their primary or only source of heat. Winter in the Navajo Nation comes with large amounts of rain and snow, so safe ways to access the home, water-tight roofs, and wood storage are essential. What’s more, the awnings included in our accessibility-focused projects will ensure that our work lasts for a very long time.
Although we accomplished amazing work this summer, it was just a dent in the amount of help needed in the Navajo Nation. When my team arrived in Tsaile just one week before our first set of volunteers, the construction team received 31 applications from homeowners requesting work from SSP. With help from chapter house staff, we visited most of these homes and met the homeowners.
“Although we accomplished amazing work this summer, it was just a dent in the amount of help needed in the Navajo Nation.”
A chapter house is the local government and community center, and helps to hold a geographical area together, even when homes are quite spread out. Without SSP’s strong partnership with the Lukachukai and Tsaile/Wheatfields/Blackrock chapters, the work we do would not be possible. We prioritized projects of the highest need and completed as many as we could with the amount of time and volunteers we had.
Editor’s Note: After two summers away from in-person service, we experienced a huge need for home repair work in the Navajo Nation this year. As we return in summer 2023, we invite you to be part of fulfilling these impactful project requests as a volunteer! Learn more and join us in service.