Published: August 4th 2012July 27th 2012
On our last work day,
we decided to support the Summer Olympics and split our team across the two work sites to make as much progress as possible. Everyone seemed to have a little friendly competition either with others on their work team or with themselves. Adam drove the demolition team directly to the other location to continue to ripping out concrete work surfaces and removing tiles from walls and floors in several rooms. The primary team stopped at the grocery store along the route to pick up lunch supplies. We were a curiosity to the neighbors as we scoured the aisles and shelves for paper goods, meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, snacks and cookies. Several people approached us to ask about our team (our matching t-shirts draw attention to us!), but we unfortunately don't know enough Polish to share more about our project.
At the main site, we learned that Zygmunt was well pleased with our work and progress. He felt comfortable leaving the site in Terry B.'s capable hands as our interim site foreman. Terry was our orchestra director -- he helped us focus on today's goals and continued to patiently teach us new skills. We'd run out of
Gunnar & Chris
In the back seat
paint a couple of times this week, but one of our sub-teams continued to scrape radiators until more paint arrived. At last count, close to 20 radiators were completely scraped and then painted on both sides. They're now dry and ready for professional reinstallation in a few days. A few extra radiators were scraped and are ready for painting by the next team arriving in 2 weeks.
It was impossible to keep an accurate count of the total batches of mortar and plaster mixed this week. Several people switched tasks to either bring bags of mix or buckets of water to keep a ready supply available - and batches were carried to multiple floors. It was rare to have people standing around waiting for mortar or plaster.
Areas were measured, blocks were sawed and bricks were chiseled. These were stacked and attached to exterior walls with mortar. A coating of plaster was then applied and leveled to prepare each section for insulation blocks to be installed very soon. In a new project, Terry taught people how to apply the finishing plaster coat. Overall, our goal this week was to finish a single floor in the school - and
Colin & Keith
Room to Spare!
when the week was over, we were already well into the third floor. We've learned that the words "awesome", "incredible" and "amazing" aren't sufficient for us to express our feelings and emotions about this great week of work and witnessing. We may never know how much of an impact we've made, but we do know how fulfilling and satisfying our work has been to us. It is a blessing to be a blessing to others!
At 5 o'clock, everyone was back at the hotel, cleaned and refreshed, and we boarded the bus for the HFH neighborhood on Orion Street. Several families in Building 8 where Terri, Chuck, Mo and Terry B. had built in 2010 learned we were in Gliwice, and they invited our team for BBQ dinner/celebration in their backyards. We were a large group, a merging of two cultures, and we enjoyed fellowship, food (kielbasa, pork, salads, desserts), fun, music and singing. We were able to view several of the families' homes, and we wished we could've spent more time with them. Certainly, the time here in Poland has just flown by!
And we learned that our demolition team's efforts were shared in a local newspaper
article: http://www.siemianowice.pl/isi/index.php?op=show&cat=2&nid=14591 Team Reflections on our long / too short week:
Realization of how much Habitat for Humanity is doing - an eye opener - sharing part of our life to help others. It's hard to say goodbye to new friends. But we accomplished a lot and (I think) made a good impression on the people we touched. All praise to God! I can't believe the week is over! It was a fabulous experience getting to work with such God-loving people, serving Christ and doing things that I have never done before. I am so grateful for having had an opportunity like this! Only 3 regrets: (1) Would have liked another week. (2) Would have liked to talk more to the locals on Friday night. (3) Wish I had seen those little children at the worksite when we left earlier so I could have done something for them. I very much enjoyed the week of service, fellowship and friendship. Time always passes too quickly and things are left...for the next time our paths cross this way. We were part of something that will impact a generation: families will worship God because of the
service we were part of. I feel the relationships I developed on this one-week trip far surpass themselves in depth, warmth and comfort than I expected -- it is hard to think it's over. It has been a great week. The mission is what makes this worthwhile. I wish we could have had more interaction with the locals, but the BBQ was great! Humankind is vastly diverse on the surface but, down deep, more similar than different. Bond like this brings out the best. I loved meeting everyone on the team - what an awesome group of people. It is an experience that will live in my heart forever. It was an incredible experience working on a team that is so collaborative while independently hard working. Such an enriching environment. I had an amazing time and have developed an appreciation of physical labor and volunteering that I think would be hard to comprehend without experiencing it firsthand. The week was awesome. The culture is beautiful. The people are very kind, and the work we did was very fulfilling. I definitely have greater respect for those who do physical labor. I grew as a
person. Great experience. I'm hooked. I've already started looking online at other GV/TBW opportunities and perhaps a return visit to Poland in the next few years, too.
Cut & paste puzzle pieces!
The embedded video at the top of this post features Adam entertaining us at the BBQ dinner celebration. He is a very talented musician, and Colin accompanied him on a borrowed guitar. Everyone enjoyed the concert and sing-a-long!
Review more about Thrivent Builds Worldwide trips and other volunteer opportunities at www.thriventbuilds.com
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