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Continuing to build in Cape Town

You can find Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and our volunteers working right around the corner, but through our Global Village Mission Trips, we’re also working to build quality, affordable shelter around the world. We invite you to experience our recent Global Village trip to Cape Town, South Africa, through the eyes and adventures of volunteer and guest blogger Stephanie Dubinsky who recounts her travels in this second post of a 3-part blog series. Read Stephanie’s first blog post.  

Build day #2! We woke up more sore than a lot of us anticipated. Coffee was poured, we chatted and then headed out to the build site where we repeated the dugha and brick chain process. Unfortunately, my team had a bit of a mishap. The masons constructed the front wall with a door frame and spacing for two front windows. A few noticed the door frame was not straight, so one of the masons kicked some small pieces of wood under the frame to straighten it. Although that worked, it disrupted the integrity of the wall that had been built, and with a bump, it came crumbling forward. I was standing in front of the wall cleaning up some rubble when the wall came down around me. Only one block actually struck me on the back of my boot. All in all, I came out with no more than a scratch.

Since it was only about half an hour before we were going to wrap up anyway, we decided to interact with the neighborhood. A couple of boys wanted to help us move blocks and shovel dugha, so we brought them Frisbees and we played for a while. It was so much fun, and the boys got creative with how they tossed the Frisbee!

We returned to the hotel for showers and a delicious dinner of butter chicken and rice. Something I noticed during our time is that South African food is very diverse. We had many different cuisines throughout our time here, and curry was one you see over and over again. On Day 7, we had a roasted chicken that reminded me of New Orleans creole! There were also a lot of KFC restaurants!

We decided to head down to the waterfront after dinner. An African choir was singing and dancing, which we enjoyed. A few of us decided to go on the Ferris wheel. The fog had settled in, so we couldn’t see much of the city lights, but it was still fun!

Day 6

Day 3 of the build week started with a somber moment. African musician Johnny Clegg passed away the evening before, so everyone took time today to play his music and dance. We took a short work day and joined Lindsay Africa at the plant for a lunch and tour. Afterward, we took in a wine tasting at Guardian Peak winery, then dinner. The mussel pot, warm tomato salad and pork belly was delicious! Many of us enjoyed the ox tail, and we had the best malva pudding of the entire trip! Malva pudding is a sponge cake that is soaked with a fabulous caramelized syrup and topped with ice cream, whipped cream, or a delicious crème anglaise.

Day 7

Day 7 was Nelson Mandela day. This week, Habitat for Humanity South Africa had a goal of building 67 houses in honor of the 67 years Nelson Mandela worked for social justice. As you know, Mandela led the movement to end apartheid and was sentenced to life in prison. Ultimately, he spent 27 years in prison and was released in 1990.

We began the day with a devotion and speeches from some special guests. It was supposed to rain all day, so we helped move bricks from pallets at site #2 to site #3 so the masons could build what they could. Then we went to some finished houses where we helped paint and clean the inner rooms.

Blog edited for content and shared, along with photos, with permission of the author. Read the final post in this 3-part blog series.