Alternative Spring Break
Over the past week, during my Spring Break, I had the privilege to travel to Waynesburg, PA to build a home for a family in need alongside Habitat for Humanity. My friend and I led 12 other women on a successful week of putting up siding, building air vents, putting up wiring, and drilling electrical boxes in, just to name a few things. I don't think anyone knew how emotional this trip would be, though.
On the second to last day of work, the new owner of the home we were building, Cheryl, showed up to the site. She was in her late 60's, and had just broken her knee in the snow a few weeks earlier. Tears immediately flooded to my eyes as she struggled to walk on the gravel to bring us lunch. Talking to her during lunch made everyone smile, and made us have a greater connection for what we were actually doing for Habitat.
This family had been living in a trailer with seven people, and only two rooms. The following day, the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) team was able to meet the son and daughter that were also receiving this home, Carol and Bobby. I have never seen someone be so thankful for what they were receiving, and this family truly truly deserved the home.
On the flip side, Wednesday, and some of Thursday, the ASB group headed to another work site for demolition of an old house that was going to be re-built. When we arrived, the owner of the house we were tearing down was there, and said to us, "Thank you for taking out my trash." But, as we took everything out of the house, we found children's toys, army outfits, and memories that really should not have been thrown out, but we were doing as we were told, and tried to keep in mind that this man and his family were going to receive a better home.
For many of us, the army outfit, the toys, and the fact that the children were only six and seven years old, and at least one had Autism, really hit home and made us emotional. On the second day of demolition, only half the group went to help out, and we tore down walls, and watched as the house turned into a hollow home made of wood. It looked like a tornado had just blown through, but it was just us that were using crowbars and hammers to tear everything in site down. It wasn't fun.
On the last day of the trip, and while we got back on the plane to head back to Boston, each one of us had a new sense of ourselves, and of humanity, and why helping our community should be a huge part of everyone's lives. Simmons College was a huge help this year in supporting us, as they helped us reach our fundraising goal, and allowed us to go on this journey, and learn more about each other, ourselves, and the Greene County in which we were in. It was truly a life-changing experience that I would recommend to everyone.