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The sun beat down from overhead with this kind of intensity I was breaking out in a sweat while sitting in the shade. I used ton’t mind the heat, I was simply glad to be out. However, it did slow the speed of the progress at the construction site. It was grinding work between digging, mixing concrete, laying blocks, and bending rebar, all that I had little to no practical knowledge in.
I’ll admit that building houses was perhaps not in my job description. As I sat there with my back against a shrub I pumped a half jar of cool water on my mind. A grin crossed my face, not because I felt much more refreshed, however because I was truly content. I recognized a gentle breeze that suddenly swept round the landscape and required my own thoughts withit. My mind started to wonder. Just how can I arrive 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 your than routine and monotony? At times I’d often wonder if a lot of everyone was really waking in the morning motivated by the job they were doing and how their lives were unfolding. I needed a change. I needed to eventually become actively involved with something positive which would provide me with a sense of purpose. Does that exist, and if yes where do I subscribe? Can one person really change the world? I wanted to find out.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and activity. Habitat only started a new International Volunteer Program (IVP) for long-term volunteers and I was the very first to go through the application. I felt this was an enormous opportunity since the company was constructed and existed the support of volunteers. Getting started I had been a bit on edge, but in the time I found my groove within the Habitat frame. It was incredible – I was actually enjoying office job. I participate in the development of substances such as an volunteer manual, interview guides, and test forms. I caused a taskforce for the continuous improvement of the IVP program. I even handled an onsite volunteer training plan at El Salvador. Yet the best part in my job was to work along side other volunteers, those who were there not because that they had to be but were there only because they wanted to be.
As far as the volunteers were concerned my role was to coordinate housing and coming logistics, then administer orientations, and support them through the duration of their stay. There was such a charisma between the volunteers I would often take it a step farther and plan weekend trips and after work excursions. We wound up not just altering the lives of others, but shifting the lives of each other.
Normally as I could I’d break away from the workplace and accept volunteers on build trips to Habitat building landscapes during Costa Rica. It was heartwarming to see first hand the culmination of your job. Out at the sight we would work alongside the benefiting Habitat family that was always very open-minded, friendly, and appreciative of the help. The spectacle was a amazing amalgamation of civilizations, economic backgrounds, and beliefs. Yet the frequent bond which tied us together wasn’t that the very simple notion of creating a home. Just seeing everyone working, laughing, grinning, and discussing created an atmosphere therefore rich with emotion it made me rethink the way I recognized wealth. The home was emblematic of more than only a place of residence. It represented a unity, a coming together, and also an inherent comprehension of equality that we’ll carry together for the remainder of our own lives. As cliché as it might sound, it had been authentic. We were not just building homes, we were building lives.
Internationally or conflict resolution or individual rights, poverty or the surroundings – it’s disheartening to think there are so many methods of getting involved and give back to the international community. But these problems exist not to create despair but activity. It isn’t important where you begin to begin making positive gifts equally for as long when you make your decision to actually start somewhere. Eventually, this is among the toughest decisions to make. Can I eradicate poverty housing? Not even close. Did I succeed? Definitely! The calmness of my experience taught me that I alone cannot do away with poverty housing, which led me to the answer I was searching for. Perhaps one man can not change the world, but the planet can certainly change for a single person. And it’s this domino effect, that should disperse across the planet we could, together, reach the unthinkable and make a world that reflects the warmth of mankind instead of its indifference.
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