Habitat Omaha Homeowners

Open Hearts Build Side by Side

Last month was the start of autumn. While some may have spent the day finding pumpkins to carve or eating caramel apples, David Klitz, Program Specialist at Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, was in Zambia taking part in a Global Village trip. A team of fifteen volunteers spent seven days in the country. They flew into the capital of Lusaka, where they also stayed during the trip. The actual build site was located in a village called Linda—a half hour drive from the capital. The team built two houses for two families. One home was dedicated to a single mother raising four children. The second was for a mother and father along with their family–two daughters and a granddaughter.

This was not David’s first Global Village trip with Habitat Omaha. In 2012 he traveled to Haiti to participate in Habitat’s annual Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project. And in 2016, he found himself at a build site in Costa Rica. David describes his experiences as opportunities “to experience a different culture from a different country… [they’re] polar opposite of what we have here.”

Habitat Volunteers build a new home in Zambia

Although there was a slight language barrier, this was circumvented with the help of interpreters and family members who spoke English. Volunteers were able to establish a relationship with the family they were building with. “You’re working side by side…and eating lunch together,” David said.

Every day there were dozens of children on site—many of them orphans. During the team’s free time, the volunteers had opportunities to connect with them. One day was spent playing with a beach ball, another was dedicated to coloring. “They [the village] were very generous, allowing us to have that interaction,” said David.

Volunteers bring balloons for children to play with during one of their breaks.

When asked about any advice he may have for those considering joining such an opportunity, he said, “it’s not about [the] build skills you have, but how open your heart is to go to another country and build that relationship with someone…ultimately, we’re all people. We have the same wants and desires.”

Check out this video from David’s Global Village trip to Zambia!