Everyone needs a decent place to live. A simple vision that started on a community farm in southern Georgia and has now blossomed to serve in over 70 countries as Habitat for Humanity.
My experiences volunteering with Habitat for Humanity have been rewarding. As I journey towards Florida to volunteer on another build, it was fitting for a slight detour to Americus, Georgia. I had to check out Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village and Discovery Center.
The primary mission of this facility is to educate people about Habitat. Dispelling common misconceptions such as houses are just given away for free helps everyone better understand the mission of Habitat.
Where ever you go, go with all your heart.Confucius
People all over the world partner with Habitat for Humanity. They must demonstrate a need and currently be living in sub-standard housing. They are offered training and education about home ownership and finances. They must work alongside volunteers to build their new home and then pay an affordable mortgage.
I enter Habitat’s Global Village and walk right into a reconstructed settlement of shacks as an example of how some people live in absolute poverty. These poorly built shelters are constructed of scrap metal, wood pallets, and other discarded materials. It is difficult to imagine living in these cramped and unsafe conditions. A dirt floor and leaky roof distract from the lack of running water and other basic necessities.
After a brief stroll through the substandard housing, there are houses of various designs lining the walkway. These are examples of the types of houses Habitat for Humanity builds around the world. Each house is built with local materials and in a manner to be affordable.
The Global Village has houses from places such as Guatemala, Haiti, Zambia, India, Malawi and 10 other countries. All the houses are furnished and open to walk through. The contrast to the poverty shacks in the initial settlement is overwhelming. The simplicity of the these new houses so desired and needed around the world is still strikingly modest from housing most of us know.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to volunteer and I am honored to be a very small part of Habitat for Humanity. It is inspiring and fulfilling to spend time alongside others making simple yet incremental contributions for the benefit of others.
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