Monday, May 20, 2013

Habitat for Humanity Global Village: Braga, Portugal

This month, I participated in a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Braga, Portugal. As many of you know, both Habitat for Humanity and mission trips/volunteering (much thanks to my father) have been a part of my life since my first mission trip--in diapers. Moving abroad, away from pre-established volunteering and connections, I couldn't have dreamed of finding this great of a team and trip.

Last fall at the American Church of Paris I heard the developing idea of a mission trip in May. Before we knew where/when or how this trip would come together, I expressed interest. Even after the dates were set, I wasn't sure until the last moment that my school schedule would allow the trip. Thus, after months of fundraising, concerts, planning, and meetings, it was a true joy to see this trip come together-and with my attendance, too!

We began the trip with a bit of R&R in the city we initially flew into- Porto, Portugal- and what a glorious place!

The port of Porto- A UNESCO World Heritage Site

After church in a beautiful old Anglican church, we took a train into the mountains to our home for the next week- Braga, Portugal. I was astonished with the beauty of the lush mountains and the orange and lemon trees growing wild next to wild flowers and vineyards.

The next days were filled with team-building work (putting the finishing touches on a home with its reveal date only 10 days away). Personally, I enjoy physical work- although I know I could never do it day-in-and-day-out, I like the opportunity to get dirty/painty and use my hands. There is a unique satisfaction with completing a painted ceiling, and a definitive coorelation with how much I work and how well I sleep after a physically active day. Thanks to the help of the Global Village Team in Portugal and the (non English speaking but very talkative) Portuguese lead builder, I am proud of the work our team was able to accomplish. 

Most importantly, I am happy to shed some love and light to families who need it most. The house shown above will be home to a widowed mother and her 3 sons. After the death of her husband and a financial crises, she decided to send her boys to school rather than have adequate shelter- now she can have both.

A special thanks to the American Church of Paris, a beacon on the Seine for many including me in my time here in Paris. Also to the Rotary Clubs in Paris, for helping us in special concert-driven Fundraising for this incredible experience. Thanks to all for your contributions be it physical or through thoughts and prayer. I couldn't have imagined a better team (from all over the world) or leaders (near and far, Teteh!) of which I had the honor to work alongside and spread hope in Portugal. During my time here I found myself imagining my next Habitat site-and whether domestic or abroad-I know this is something I will continue lifelong. If you ever have the opportunity (and with the outreach of Habitat Global Village, I'd like to think we all do!) I highly suggest committing to and enriching your life and others through a Habitat build.  Or, join me on my next one, wherever that may be...

I will close with the Mission Statement of Habitat for Humanity:

Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with God and people everywhere, from all walks of life, to develop communities with people in need by building and renovating houses so that there are decent houses in decent communities in which every person can experience God's love and can live and grow into all the God intends.

No comments:

Post a Comment