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The sun beat down from overhead with such intensity I had been breaking out in a sweat whilst sitting in the colour. I used ton’t mind the heat, I was just happy to be out. Yet it did impede the speed of the progress at the construction site. It had been grinding job between digging, mixing concrete, putting cubes, and bending rebar, all which I had little to no working knowledge in.
I will acknowledge that building houses was not in my job description. When I sat there with my back against a tree I poured a half bottle of cool water over my mind. A smile crossed my head, not because I felt joyful, however because I had been truly happy. I recognized a gentle breeze that suddenly drifted round the landscape and took my thoughts with it. My mind began to wonder. How did I get here?
For several years I had the dream of living abroad, learning a new language and experiencing a different culture. Wasn’t there something more alive than regular and monotony? At times I would often wonder if most everyone was really waking at the morning motivated by the job that they were doing and how their lifestyles were unfolding. I had a change. I wanted to become actively involved with something positive that could provide me with a sense of purpose. Does that even exist, and if so where do I sign up? Perhaps it’s easier said than done. But, I finally chose and started to realize this fantasy when I traveled to Costa Rica in a whim and found myself volunteering with Habitat for Humanity International. Can one person really transform the whole world? I wanted to learn.
Habitat only started a brand new International Volunteer Program (IVP) for long-term volunteers and I was the initial to experience the application. My official title was that the Volunteer Coordinator for Latin America & the Caribbean. I believed this was a tremendous opportunity since the organization was built and existed the aid of volunteers. Starting out I had been a bit on edge, but in due time I found my groove within the Habitat frame. It was unbelievable – I was actually enjoying office work. I took part in the development of substances like an volunteer manual, meeting guides, and test forms. I caused a taskforce for the continuous improvement of the IVP program. I even administered an onsite volunteer training plan at El Salvador. Yet the best part about my job was having to work along side other volunteers, people who weren’t because that they must function but have there been only because they wished to be.
As far as the volunteers have been concerned, my job was to coordinate home and coming logistics, administer orientations, and encourage them through the duration of their stay. There is this type of charisma amongst the volunteers I would go on it a step further and plan weekend trips and after work outings. We finished up not just changing the lifestyles of many others, but changing the lifestyles of eachother. Dealing with Habitat gave me the confidence to believe I can accomplish any task, however more importantly it gave me a more real sense of pride in being ready to work hard at work worth doing.
As often as I could I’d break out from the office and take volunteers build trips to Habitat construction sights throughout Costa Rica. It was heartwarming to see first hand the culmination of one’s job. Out at the sight we’d work alongside the benefiting Habitat family that was consistently very open-minded, friendly, and respectful of our help. The scene was a amazing amalgamation of civilizations, economic backgrounds, and faith. The common bond that tied us together wasn’t the easy thought of building a home. Just watching everybody working, laughing, smiling, and sharing generated a feeling so rich with emotion that it made me rethink how I recognized riches. Your home was symbolic of more than only a place of dwelling. It represented a unity, a coming together, and also an inherent comprehension of equality that we’ll carry with us to the rest of our own lives. As cliché as it might sound, it had been true. We’re not only building homes, we were building lives.
Internationally or domestically, conflict settlement or human rights, poverty or the surroundings – it’s disheartening to think that there are many ways to get involved and give back to the global community. However, these problems exist not to create despair but activity. It isn’t important where you start to get started making positive gifts just so long when you make the decision to actually start somewhere. Fundamentally, this is among the toughest decisions to make. I decided the movement of eliminating poverty housing. Can I eradicate poverty housing? Maybe not really close. Can I succeed? Definitely! The calmness of my experience taught me that I alone cannot do away with poverty housing, which directed me to the answer I was looking for. Perhaps 1 man can not change the world, but the entire world can definitely change for a single individual. And it has this domino effect, which if disperse across the globe we can, together, achieve the unimaginable and make a world that reflects the warmth of mankind instead of its indifference.
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