A Life Changing Experience
Following weeks of heavy rains and flooding in El Salvador, Habitat Omaha’s team of volunteers flew into the capital of San Salvador to begin a week of building in the district of La Libertad. Our group was made up of a wide range of ages and experience, from Omaha Habitat Young Professionals’ members and Habitat Omaha church coalition representatives, to team members who had little to no experience volunteering on a build site.
We were blessed that week with a cessation of the rain and the opportunity to work alongside several fun-loving, dedicated staff members from Habitat El Salvador’s construction crew. Our group of twelve hauled over 150 wheelbarrows of dirt and sand uphill to mix it by hand with cement for the floors of the home. We dug the holes of a septic system; one over eight feet deep and nearly as long and the other more than 12 feet deep, mortared and painted walls, and ended up putting the project two weeks ahead with our efforts.
The work was strenuous and the conditions were steamy, but the week flew by as we scooped cement and tamped down dirt while dancing the Macarena, joked with Antonio, our construction supervisor, and got to know the future homeowners; Angel, Ursula, and their little daughter Gabriella. At the end of the week, as we said our goodbyes at the dedication ceremony, Angel broke down in tears as he spoke about his struggles to provide a decent home for his family. More than a few of our team members were brought to tears by his gratitude for our work and the impact of that moment will stay will all of us forever.
One of the most common things team members say after a Global Village trip is that it was a “life changing experience”. Every Global Village trip is different, but every time we walk away changed for the better, having linked ourselves forever with a family whose life we helped to change and whose friendship changed us.
Special Projects Manager/Global Village Team Leader
Habitat for Humanity of Omaha