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Published: October 15th 2014
The Finished Product
In El Rosario. We didn't get this far
I get to write my final blog entry for trip from the comfort of my home, using a keyboard rather than my tablet. This time I have no excuses for poor grammar or major spelling errors.
Good News! I came home with the same 11 team members I started with! Well, maybe not the same. We are tired, a little battered and bruised, but we are inspired by, proud and satisfied with all we accomplished. We began the week as strangers in a foreign country with a small parcel of un-cleared land. When we left, we had new friends, a love and respect for Honduras and its people and the foundation (literally and figuratively) for a family to ensure their future in a safe, stable home environment. I learned so much! Construction Skills
Who knew this city gal could yield a pick-axe, a sledge hammer and a shovel as well as she did? I didn’t. I knew nothing about building foundations and now I helped create one. I learned to mix concrete (cement, lime, sand, gravel and water), bend rebar into stirrups, and how to use a tube filled with water as a level. Personal Growth
When choosing to go on this trip, I knew I had to leave my inner DIVA at home. I learned I am physically stronger, heartier and more flexible than I thought. There were many opportunities for me to practice my personal and communication skills; with my team, on the worksite and in the community. Our Team
– Ranging in age from 17 to 56, all came to the trip with different expectations, skill sets and personalities. As a team we agreed that we would each do our best with what we had to offer. Team members tended to gravitate towards what they did well, and occasionally I would guide some to a job where their current abilities better suited the task at hand. The work was exhausting, the conditions basic and many of us struggled to physically feel our best. By the end of the day, we were spent. I had to dig into my reserves to find the patience and compassion my team deserved after their long days. On the Work Site
– A trip like this attracts many strong minded, hard working individuals; those who have the heart to give and the ability
We Left Our Hearts
And names in the foundation
to carve a week out of their busy schedules to make a difference. What does that mean?? We have a lot of chiefs! On the worksite, I practiced being an Indian. There were so many opinions on how to best accomplish a given task. Some opinions came from the job superintendent, some from the masons and some from the volunteers. All were viable, none were perfect. Efficiency, as I understand it, was not practiced. However, I had to set aside my USA business management style and let things happen in the Honduran manner. Once I did this, my frustration level dropped and I was able to revel in the unique experience. In the Community
– I am blessed to lead a comfortable, privileged life, in my safe, sanitized, suburban community. On this trip I had the opportunity to work, play and be with others whose lives differ greatly from mine. Is mine better? No, just different. We have so many commonalities. We want to be loved, accepted, do work that provides value, communicate with those around us, and keep our families safe. Assumptions and stereotypes I held about citizens of developing countries fell away as I engaged with the
locals on this trip. My interactions with the Central American Habitat staffers, the workers on site, staff at the hotel and in restaurants, Habitat partner families, the girls in the orphanage and strangers in the street deepened my connection to a country and its people.
Would I do this again? You bet! I am in again for next year. I would love to lead another trip. Thank you to those of you who left comments on my blog. Your encouragement, forced me to carve time out in my day to capture tidbits I will savor looking back on in the future. A SPECIAL THANK YOU goes out to my friends and family who made financial contributions to Habitat in honor of the work we are doing in Honduras. Knowing you care about me and support me in my philanthropic endeavors, sustained me throughout this amazing experience.
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