Written by Maura Kautsky, Board Chair
A group of Tigers, fellow board members and staff took a four day service and educational trip to Koinonia Farm and the Global Village & Discover Center in Americus, Georgia to see and hear the Habitat story. Our trip was guided by our chauffer, the one and only Jim Morris. We picked up our tour guide and chief story teller Clive Rainey, the Habitat for Humanity’s first ever volunteer, and off we went to Koinonia Farms.
We spent the first two days at Koinonia Farm, a Christian fellowship community, the place where Millard and Linda Fuller conceived Habitat. Together with Koinonia founder Clarence Jordan and a few others, the Fullers initiated a ministry in housing where they built modest houses on a no-profit, no-interest basis. Homeowner families were expected to invest their own labor into the building of their home and the houses of other families and from it Habitat was born. As part of our tour Clive showed us where those first homes are located and they look like many of the homes we build today. While on the farm many of us sorted pecans and learned about golden pecans, the best quality. The farm makes its money from the sales of pecan goods.
We then headed to Americus to visit the Global Village. It was so inspiring to me to see how far reaching Habitat has grown to serve so many countries. The Global Village is right by Habitat’s headquarters so we stopped in to look around. We ended our time in Americus with a dinner Clive arranged with Linda Fuller, co-founder of Habitat. What a blessing for us to talk with her and hear her journey. View photos from the trip!
We had a lot of fun together and I want to share a few other notable memories from our trip:
- Have you ever seen a Palmetto bug? If so you won’t forget how big they are. (Sorry Eileen for screaming and waking you up.) And thanks to Ted and Paul for coming to the rescue and removing it from our room.
- Did you know you can tap two pecan shells together to crack them open to get to the raw delicious nut inside?
- John Peer is a great euchre partner. Thanks for making us the undefeated champs.
- The southern food is incredible in Georgia. I think I ate more food in four days than I do in two weeks. In particular, Mom’s Kitchen has the best fried chicken and Grits Café serves a delicious fried green tomato sandwich and sweet potato fries. Yummy!
- I am inspired by Clive Rainey’s servant leadership and how he dedicated his whole life to Habitat’s mission. He is a true inspiration and I am privileged that I can now call him my friend.
I walked away from these past four days with a full heart, new friends and an ongoing appreciation for what Habitat has done and continues to do to serve families with a goal to provide affordable housing to all. I will leave you with something Clive shared with us that he heard form a homeowner that sums up how Habitat changes and impacts families: “As I built my house, I built myself.” -Habitat homeowner
P.S. Koinonia Farms is still serving after 75 years and they have a focus on hospitality, an internship program and demonstrating sustainable farming practices. Their golden delicious pecans are used to create wonderful chocolate, pecan brittle, breads, and they sell bags of nuts. All great gifts – koinoniafarm.3dcartstores.com.