TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE
Summer Global Builds- 2018
July has been a busy month for global trips–we sent three of our staff members out to build internationally, one in Guatemala and two (plus a local team) in Paraguay. Here are their stories!

Paraguay Team

Our Paraguay team stands with Habitat Paraguay staff and the families that they built alongside. Paraguay is one of three tithe partners that Fort Collins Habitat supports every year.

We were so excited to take a team of local volunteers to build with Habitat for Humanity in Paraguay! Thanks to Thrivent Builds for allowing members on our team to travel at a signficiant discount, with a great donation to the local affiliate. 

Here is an overview of the trip from Mara’s perspective:

“Last week I had the unique and life-changing opportunity to travel to Asunción, Paraguay to build with their local affiliate which also happens to be our largest tithe partner here in Fort Collins.  This trip was led by Erika and Mark Nossokoff and attendees included individuals from 3 local churches. I was moved and inspired by each individual ’s desire to serve not only in their local community but also internationally.

We had the pleasure of building alongside Lorena and her 2 daughters for the week. Our build started from the dirt! We were tasked with digging trenches for the foundation, moving rocks for the foundation and mixing a TON of mortar! On day 1 we were lucky enough to have the two little girls join us on the site and they so desperately wanted to help us build their home! They would try to help us move rocks and during one break, they picked up their toy shovel and tried to dig more of the trenches. This moment was so incredible because I saw that these two little girls were modeling the hard work and dedication of their mother. At that moment, I saw the beauty of the Habitat Women Build model and how the generational impact is truly universal!

Through the rest of the week, we overcame language barriers with not only Lorena and her family, but also the masons that we were building with as well as Lourdes, our very own Paraguayan cook! Lourdes is the daughter of one of the very first Habitat homeowners in Paraguay, at the age of 18 she helped her mother build her own home! Not long after completing her mother’s home, Lourdes was hired by Habitat to cook for the groups that attend GV trips. Our group so enjoyed spending time with Lourdes and enjoying her authentic Paraguayan food. Each day after lunch we would applaud her work and she beamed with pride!

This trip was truly transformational and I can’t wait for the opportunity to travel again but next time as a leader myself!”

 

Fort Collins Habitat tithes to three countries every year, Paraguay, Uganda, and Vietnam. This tithe helps us to increase our impact because for every home we build locally, we can build three globally!

Guatemala

Our Volunteer Manager, Abby, (left) chips away at cinderblock to make room for rebar.
Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash
Our Volunteer Manager, Abby, also enjoyed a global build in July when she joined a team comprised of folks from all over the country. Here is a retelling of her experience in her own words:

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to travel abroad for the first time to join a Thrivent Builds trip to Xela, Guatemala with 24 other volunteers. We all came from across the country- Ohio, North Carolina, Washington, Iowa, Wyoming, and Colorado! Some of the volunteers were like me and were new to global builds, and others were seasoned volunteers. One volunteer even told us that he had gone on close to 40 global builds! Although I didn’t know anyone prior to the trip, we bonded quickly over the shared purpose of building safe, decent, and affordable shelter for hardworking families.

Guatemalan Habitat homes are built with concrete blocks and mortar with reinforcement from rebar and concrete. We spent the week mixing concrete with shovels (and lots of buckets of sand, rock, concrete mix, and water), cutting blocks, and tying rebar with hooks and wire. The work was challenging, but it was worth it to see the courses (rows) of brick go higher and higher each day. Our large group was split into three smaller teams, which gave us the opportunity to see the progress of not one, but three homes throughout the week. My team’s home started about three courses high, and by the end of the week we were almost done with the brick! The other two homes started closer to the foundation stage and ended about two or three courses high. My team built alongside Edgar Jr, a young adult who is currently studying computer science. He is a talented artist as well- he commissions his work and was able to show us some of his pieces while we were there.

Building was a lot of fun, but another highlight from the week was taking part in a cultural activity. I went with a group of people to a family’s weaving farm. The business spanned five generations, and almost all of their equipment had been there from the beginning. The family told us all about the process for making their products- from shearing their 25 sheep, to preparing the wool to be dyed, to creating the dyes from things such as tree bark, bugs, and rock! They also made us a delicious snack of homemade tortillas with queso fresco, guacamole, and black beans. They were so hospitable and welcoming- we all had a great time!

Over one short week, I learned about Guatemala and how Habitat builds there and made countless memories that I will never forget.”

If you are interested in taking part in a global build, let us know! We have several trained trip leaders on staff, so whether your interested is in faith-based trips, general volunteering or a donor team, we have got you covered!

To get started and learn more, please contact Erika at 970-488-2606 or via email at enossokoff@fortcollinshabitat.org.