Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Norwegian barn-raising

In the Amish culture in the US, when a farmer needs a new barn, all the neighbors come over and build the barn together as a community. (I think it happens in one day, but I'm not sure if that's possible). The women prepare a meal, and the entire community sits down together inside the barn and celebrates. 

Erik and Steinar discuss something about the roof, I guess.
Two weekends ago, three of Erik's colleagues and our uber-friendly neighbor, descended up our house for a dugnad (volunteer) project. In the space of about 3 hours, the five of them nearly completely tiled our new roof. In fact, when I arrived around 12:30 (as the Amish wife in this story, supplying food for the laborers) with two hot pizzas, they were all back on the ground, majority of the tiling complete. I had imagined great pictures of men balancing precariously on the roof, but I was too late. 

It's kind of hard to take a picture
of a roof from the ground, so Erik
snapped this one with his cell phone.
Two of the guys stayed until nearly 6pm, cutting and laying the angled pieces where the two rooflines meet. We were so grateful for their help, and were really touched by the warmth and enthusiasm that Erik's colleagues and our new neighbor showed us. It is gestures like this that make us "foreigners" feel very welcome in both the community and our new neighborhood. 


  1. I have to say, having wanted to buy a place of my own for years now (and still in school and thus unable to do so), it's a little bit exciting to see the progress on your house (sorry, I know it's stressful for you). I hope you guys can get moved in soon!

  2. The dugnad is a beautiful thing, right? I'm sure Erik's colleagues and your neighbor feel as good about being able to help as you guys do about getting their help.

  3. Cool! (Are people friendlier down south? I mean we have dugnad and all, but I can't imagine anyone staying all day to help us raise a roof!)

  4. I think we've just been blessed with the best neighbor(s) in all of Lillehammer. He came and joined us again this past Sunday afternoon and helped us insulate our ceiling for 4+ hours!