Habitat for Humanity builds in 70+ countries and invites volunteers to participate these projects through its Global Village program. In February Greater Indy Habitat completed our fifth trip to El Salvador with 11 volunteers and in total has tithed more than 1.3 million to our sister affiliates in Central America.
Get the scoop on our latest trip from travelers Tim and Jess Cummings!
Why did you decide to participate in a Global Village trip?
“Jess and I were looking for an easy way to dedicate some time to a volunteer group and have an adventure while doing it. We visited the Habitat site to see if there would be anything that would fit what we were looking for.”
What stands out about your experience in El Salvador?
“The best part was the group we were with. Everyone was great to be around and made all the hard work enjoyable. We really enjoyed being about to see some of the Salvadorian culture. Our group was working on wall masonry and pouring concrete for the floor. During the build, it was a running joke that every time we would complete another cinderblock row on the wall, Luis (the head mason), would always tell us there were 10 more rows to go.”
How is the need for decent housing the same and different between Indy and El Salvador?
“No matter where you live, some sort of sturdy shelter is important to stay safe and have a place to call your home. However, the build style of the houses were quite different. While Indy houses need to be able to deal with both hot and cold temperatures, El Salvador needs to build their houses capable of surviving hurricanes and earthquakes. The houses in general in El Salvador were much smaller and simpler than those build in Indianapolis, but the people there seemed to have just as much pride and excitement about their homes.”
Describe an experience with the family or on the build site that will stick with you.
“We had a fairly steep language barrier between the volunteers and the family, [but] we were still able to see how excited they were about the house. We did get to visit a homeowner from an Indy Habitat Global Village trip from a few years ago. It really stuck with us how happy they were to welcome us into their house and show us how they were doing. They provided us with snacks and freshly cut coconuts and gave us the full tour. Finally, we were very impressed by the masons who work on the houses in El Salvador. After spending a week mixing and moving concrete on the house, the whole group was amazed to know that the mason has only a couple of helpers who work with him to complete the house. [Another] highlight that stands out was getting to meet the mom of the homeowner and visiting her at her house/pupuseria where she lived and sold pupusas on the street.”
Would you encourage others to join a Global Village trip with Greater Indy Habitat?
“Absolutely! Global Village is a wonderful adventure that allows you to see how other people live in other countries and give you a peak into their culture. It is specifically nice to work with the Indy chapter as it meant the whole group lives in the same area which allowed us to meet up a couple of times before the trip to get to know each other beforehand.”
Reflecting back, what did this trip mean to you?
“The experience showed us what a loving community Habitat is and is the kind of community that cares about those around it.”