November 20, 2012 in United States
Although Occupy hasn’t been in the news much lately, this doesn’t mean they haven’t been busy.
In fact, as I wrote yesterday, they are taking ideas born out of their protest movement and are actively working, mostly in anonymity, to make a difference.
The Rolling Jubilee is one peaceful response.
This effort is being led by Tino Fuentes of Occupy the Roads.
They were wrapping up several months on the road by coming through Albuquerque on the way to Southern Colorado. When they weren’t able to make connections with the local chapter of Occupy, they decided to park the V on our outdoor basketball court and relax for a few days.
It was a divine appointment that gave me a direct connection to Occupy and gave Janet and Tino a place to get away from their adventures.
During that visit, they shared their vision of establishing a community in Southern Colorado.
They quickly decided that the location was perfect for their community summer work. However, the harsh winter would not be conducive to living in tents while building houses so they looked for another project.
The property’s owner, Mark Carlo, donated the house to Occupy to be used as a headquarters for much needed community services in the local area.
There was one catch.
They had to clean the house and bring the 130 year old building up to code.
Tino agreed to dedicate two years to the project. He started work last summer and finally took a week away from it to spend Thanksgiving week with our community.
During my recent discussions with him, I discovered his team interviewed local residents to determine what services were needed in Pueblo. They decided the location was ideal as a headquarters for an Occupy community. It was relatively close to their mountain land and it provided opportunity to serve.
Tino, who has a background in community health, knows he has the skills to help the area. However, he is less skilled in rehabbing a 130-year old house.
The local inspector has advised Tino on how to bring the home up to code.
Movement Resource Group (MRG) provided a grant for the new roof.
Ken Shore and his interns from Pueblo Community College have put in the electrical wiring.
Visitors from Denver, Fort Collins and Taos, New Mexico have come down on weekends to help.
Other volunteers, including those from Occupy Pueblo, have helped with the cleanup of the yard and the home’s interior.
The ductwork has been prepared to handle the newly donated furnace.
The basement is cleaned and secured.
The yard is ready to be used as an annex for the community garden next door.
Along the way, Tino has learned a variety of general contractor skills, including how to repair walls and floors.
One of his teachers came from an unlikely source.
Last summer, as Tino was working in the heat of the day, he noticed a homeless man, obviously drunk, lean against the fence and sink slowly to the ground.
Tino gave him some water and invited him to rest in the shade. They chatted for a while and the man went on his way.
This happened for several consecutive days.
The man would come by, visit with Tino, and leave.
Then, the morning arrived when it was time for Tino to repair the brick walls. He had purchased materials. However, he didn’t have any idea where to start.
His friend showed up and, during their conversation, Tino explained his predicament.
The man’s expertise was bricklaying.
He supervised Tino through the repair work.
When the project was complete, so was this divine appointment.
The man left that day and never visited again.