A Global Village indeed!

What a week I had volunteering with the Global Villiages Program of Habitat International! I am still in awe of how much time, energy, money and spirit went into making one Hungarian family’s home warm in the winter and cooler in the summer. I began asking my friends and family to offer financial support half a year ago and to think that each of the nine volunteers did the same is amazing. Hailing from the U.S., Canada and Australia, from many backgounds and experiences, supported by Habitat International and locally, Habitat Hungary, we arrived to help an incredibly kind and sweet family.

In Hungary, a shortage of housing is not the issue, instead it is a lack of effcient homes. As is the case for many Hungarian families, the global economic crisis had a devastating impact on families like the Joo family. The situation for the Joo family was made more dire when their furnace wet out. Combined with expensive medical costs related to the yougest daughter’s complicated medical issues the family turned to Habitat Hungary for help.

Our work began with coating all walls of the house with a 4 cm layer of styrofoam insulation, securing it with nails, and sanding.
Our local expert/foreman, Tomas teaches us how to apply plaster, post insulation.
Our team leader Chris and I enjoying Tomas’s praise for our completed wall.
Tomas also introduced us to the Hungarian liquor, Palinka, in reward for our hard work. I think the pear was my favorite variety.
My dog, Cooper, has some serious competition for best dog ever from the family dog, Lizzy!
We enjoyed several excursions during the week led by Habitat Humanity staff, Nora. Above, to the castle Visegrad. Below, to the closest town of Vac.
Enjoing a final meal with the family and Habitat Hungary staff. We ate an incredible traditional gulash and enjoyed an extremely generous dessert wine, a gift from the family. The evening began with some shared tears of gratitude and ended with songs around a campfire. Couldn’t hav imagined a better way to end our work.

Travel broadens my worldview and creates a deep appreciation for the variety of life and thought on our planet, but combining it with volunteering provides opportunities to share in quiet victories over our common struggles. As is true each time I do this, my heart has grown and the distance between us was made smaller. Thank you Habitat, all of the supporters that helped make this happen and the most amazing group of volunteers!




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