It took him (and sometimes us) about 2 years of sweat and blood (never any tears!), but we finally have 98% of Ogunda 7 Mares (O7M) done!
Back in 2015, we saw this listing for a1979 GMC VanDura P35 23 ft long Class C motorhome, "still runs, new electric inverter, Pioneer speakers" for $1,000 in Baltimore's CraigsList. We'd been looking for an RV or small bus to convert it into a mobile barbershop for O and possibly add a chair massage area as well for me to service his waiting barber clients. We showed up with the cash only 10 minutes ahead of a woman who was driving in from West Virginia, so the man sold it to us instead.
Off-Grid-ing While Black
"Although, living off the land is not anything new, our ancestors did it for many, many years and they managed just fine." --AfroVivalist
Once we started our own barbershop & wellness center where we could both practice our licensed crafts, the idea of having a mobile shop was at the same time superfluous and expensive. So we started playing with the idea of turning it into an off-grid tiny house.
Downsizing to a simpler life.
Don't get us wrong. It's not that we didn't love our little Cape Cod with the fenced in back yard in Baltimore City, but what we craved was a simpler and with less 'stuff'. Stuff = noise and we wanted a quiet life. Minding our own business. Eventually growing our own food, working our land. Like they did back in the day. Like many still do now.
Like we believe it could/should be without "the Joneses".
Pinterest and YouTube was chock full of inspiration on what our home-on-wheels could look like (#homeiswhereyouparkit #RVReno #VanLife) but what I WASN'T seeing were many faces of BIPOC being represented living the #offgrid #homestead or #fulltimeRVlife even though I was following a growing number of such accounts on IG. So when we started the renovation, we made the decision to document and share our path so that other like-minded BIPOC who may have been thinking/planning/dreaming of this lifestyle could see other people who look like them and have shared experiences with them out there and doin' the damned thang! Because truly, #RespresentationMatters
So How'd He Do It?
The good old-fashioned way: blood, sweat, and weekends.
First, we found a local contractor to finish the demolition that we started, tear everything down to the chassis, and then build up the outside and make the whole outer structure watertight. For $3,000, the man and his crew did quite the poor job of it, leaving large gaps between the walls and ceiling, not installing the windows, not reinstalling the door, and somehow building the new structure almost 2 inches higher on one side than the other. Obviously, we booted him and his crew. Can you believe he tried to take all the screws, nails, and a whole roll of roofing material that he didn't use but we paid for? The nerve!
So there you have it, the reason why we started down this path of somewhat unconventional living. By sharing our goings-on, ups, downs, wins, & losses, we hope to inspire a whole mess of BIPOC (& and anyone, really) to consider getting fresh out tha matrix!