STUDENT TESTIMONIALS OF THE ARCH TECH 2008 TRIP TO NEW MEXICO

Eric Biard-Goble

When we first arrived at the Albuquerque International airport none of us really knew what to expect. After we took our luggage and stepped outside to discover that the difference in temperature was astounding, it was obvious by the look on everyone’s face that they were surprised by the dry heat because we are used to such humidity. After this we explored old town Albuquerque. Our air-conditioned coach took us to Taos where we stayed at St. James Episcopal church. Elaine, the woman in charge of making the church arrangements for us, was absolutely lovely and very helpful. The very next day we started working.

On this first day of site work we were all introduced to an 8 hour work load in the Taos heat. It is clear that all of us became extremely appreciative of the wind while working. The group divided into 3, some working on the interior, some on the exterior walls and others responsible for roofing . It was great to be able to work together with people, most of whom we vaguely knew or had just recently met. Group members got very close. The next days working on site proved very beneficial because it meant we got to apply what we learned in class. This really opened our eyes and we got to experience adobe construction which in itself is very impressive because it is only used in climates like that of Taos.

The third day in Taos was amazing because most of us left the site early to go to the Taos pueblo.  The pueblo of the indigenous people was absolutely breathtaking and it gave us a new way to see architecture which is what we are all studying.

During the work week with Habitat for Humanity we explored the town center of Taos.  Two girls and I were talking to a store owner and she not only thanked us but told us she was proud of us for being youth who actually help. At the end of the work week, when we were leaving Taos, we were informed that in 5 days we accomplished 4 times more work than scheduled which really made us feel good.

We continued to Santa Fe which was an amazing city. The hotel was great because we were upgraded due to our group size and the cause of our trip. It was such an exhilarating experience to be recognized for doing humanitarian work like this by not only the people you are helping but others as well.

After this we proceeded to Albuquerque which as well was great because we were given time to visit some of the restaurants that serve traditional New Mexican food. This was a very flavourful experience. I would have to say the only complaint about this trip I could have is that fact that after being together for 10 days we had to say goodbye to each other at Trudeau airport in Montreal, it seemed we became family.