ACI Worldwide Global Village Trip
Restoring Hope in Romania
Ken Mar, Chief Operations Officer at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, is no stranger to serving in communities around the world. In September 2017, he was in Romania with a team building much needed housing for adults with special needs. He also participated in Habitat Omaha Global Village trips to Haiti in 2012, China in 2015, and Bulgaria in 2016.
The 12-day trip to Romania was sponsored by ACI Worldwide, a global electronic payments company. The volunteer group was composed of 18 ACI employees from all over the world. Ken described it as a “good display of workplace engagement.” The team flew into the capital, Bucharest, and then took a five-hour drive to the build site in Medias.
The volunteers worked on two sites. The first was a five-plex building designed for apartment living. Ken said they spent their days installing the second floor, pouring cement, and laying tile. The other location was a shelled Romanian air force base in Timisoara, reclaimed by the city after the fall of communism. The volunteers cleaned and organized the site—“shoveling at least seven tons of rubble.” Before leaving, they placed rebar for future cement work.
When asked about his biggest takeaway, Ken commented, “I’m always awed by the magnitude of how big the world is [yet] people are the same…We have the same aspirations, want a better life, hope…And that’s what Habitat for Humanity provides.”
Global Village trips aren’t just about building houses, they’re helping to restore hope, starting with a home. And for those who may wish to spread hope, but think they’re unable to participate in Habitat Omaha’s international trips, Ken had this to say: “You don’t have to go thousands of miles away to serve, there are opportunities to do that right here in Omaha.”