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The sun beat down from overhead with such intensity I had been breaking out in a sweat when sitting in the color. I used ton’t mind the heat, I was only glad to be out. But it did impede the rate of our progress at the construction site.
I will acknowledge that building houses was perhaps not in my job description. A smile crossed my face, not because I felt more joyful, but because I had been truly satisfied. I recognized a gentle breeze that unexpectedly drifted across the scene and required my thoughts with it. My mind began to wonder. How did I arrive here?
For many years that I had the dream of living abroad, learning a new language and experiencing a different culture. Are not there something more to life than regular and monotony? At times I would often wonder if most people were really getting up at the morning motivated by the work that they were doing and how their lifestyles were unfolding. I needed a switch. I wanted to eventually become consciously involved in something positive which would provide me with a sense of purpose. Does that even exist, and if so where do I subscribe? Perhaps it’s easier said than done. Yet, I finally took the initiative and began to see this dream when I traveled to Costa Rica to a whim and found myself volunteering with Habitat for Humanity International. Can one person really change the world? I desired to learn.
Habitat just started a fresh International Volunteer Program (IVP) for long term volunteers and I was the 1st to go through the app. My official name was the Volunteer Coordinator for Latin America & the Caribbean. I felt that this was a tremendous opportunity since the organization was constructed and existed on the support of volunteers. Getting started I was a bit on edge, but in the time I found my groove over the Habitat framework. It was incredible – that I was actually enjoying off ice work. I took part in the creation of substances such as an volunteer manual, meeting guides, and evaluation forms. I worked with a taskforce for its continuous advancement of the IVP program. I administered an onsite volunteer training regime in El Salvador. Yet the best part about my job was having to work along side other volunteers, people who were there not because that they had to function but were there simply because they desired to become.
As far as the volunteers were concerned, my role was to coordinate housing and arrival logistics, administer orientations, and encourage them during their stay. There is this kind of charm amongst the volunteers I would take it a step further and plan weekend excursions and after work outings. We wound up not just altering the lives of others, but shifting the lifestyles of each other.
As often as I could I would break away from the office and take volunteers on build trips to Habitat construction sights throughout Costa Rica. It was heartwarming to see firsthand the culmination of work. Out at the sight we would work together with the benefitting Habitat family who was consistently very open-minded, friendly, and appreciative of the help. The scene was a amazing amalgamation of cultures, economic backgrounds, and beliefs. Yet the common bond which tied us together wasn’t the easy notion of building a home. Only watching everybody else working, laughing, smiling, and discussing generated a feeling so rich with emotion that it made me rethink the way I defined riches. Your home was emblematic of more than just a place of dwelling. It symbolized a motto, a coming together, along with an inherent comprehension of equality which we’ll carry together for the rest of our lives. As cliché as it may sound, it was true. We were not just building homes, we were building lives.
Internationally or conflict resolution or human rights, the surroundings – it’s disheartening to believe there are so many ways to get involved and give back to the international community. It isn’t important where you start to start making positive gifts just as long when you make the choice to actually start somewhere. Fundamentally, this really is one of the toughest decisions to create. I decided the movement of eliminating poverty housing. Did I eliminate poverty housing? Not even close. Can I succeed? Absolutely! The serenity of my experience taught me that I alone cannot eliminate poverty housing, that led me to the answer I was looking for. Perhaps one man can’t change the world, but the planet can certainly change for one individual. And it’s this domino effect, that if disperse across the globe we can, collectively, achieve the unimaginable and make a world that reflects the heat of humanity instead of its indifference.
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