Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.Henry Ford
For more than fifteen years, we’ve been part of a team — a Habitat Global Village team — that builds houses in international locations. It’s work, of course, but it’s also a rush — working together with people from the U. S. and Canada, problem solving on location, falling in love with families who need and deserve a good home, and bonding while traveling and immersing ourselves in another culture, another time.
One of Bert’s earliest team experiences came together as a part of Habitat International‘s build in Hanoi with former President Jimmy Carter, a strong advocate of Habitat for Humanity and the continuing work of the Carter Work Project to provide affordable housing around the world.
Since then, we’ve expanded our tours — and our builds — to include homes in Belfast, Northern Island; Nepal; and Lesotho. And we worked for a week in Bucharest, Romania, to renovate a school.
In Nepal, we were greeted royally with firm handshakes, a few hugs and leis made of marigolds hung around our necks.
Our team worked on two houses, one in a community setting where extended family also had houses and one on the side of a steep mountain. Each had its challenges. Each had its rewards.
On some days, all we accomplished was hauling heavy rocks from a quarry below up the mountainside for the build.
Although we didn’t complete the build while we were there, our closing ceremony included the presentation of the key to the door and hugs with the homeowners.
The Lesotho build lasted only one day since there was a coup against the country’s leader, and all Americans had to be evacuated.
But the work went on, even without our team, and three lovely children (whose parents died of AIDS) and their uncle stood proudly for a picture in front of the house they were leaving for the house we were building of concrete block, mud, and love.
In Bucharest, we learned new skills — from how to tear out paneling while avoiding mold to how to re-plaster classroom walls. But through it all, we learned to trouble shoot and communicate with project managers who mostly spoke Romani. (In addition: they loved the Big Orange UT hats we brought from home!)
The team’s last build went on without us, since we felt we couldn’t haul rock or wheelbarrow loads of dirt anymore. We missed the work, but joined the group afterwards to tour Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples.
The team has stayed intact, even through sicknesses, personal trials, and our inability to do what we could do twenty years ago. And, if the coronavirus hadn’t caused upheaval in travel all over the world, we would have re-assembled for a home build in Amman, Jordan, in March 2020.
What keeps this team together besides friendship and a love of international travel? Dedication to a worthy cause benefiting worthy people.
Home is the nicest word there is.Laura Ingalls Wilder
And so it is: our love of providing homes for people all over the world keeps this team going — hopefully, for many years to come.
Rusha & Bert
Check out how you can be a part of a Habitat Global Village team and build homes for deserving people. We guarantee you’ll fall in love!
This post is one of a series of one-word prompts for April 2020 called Discover Prompts by WordPress. Enjoy!