LA MATANZA, Argentina (May 2, 2012) – Its not very often that Habitat for Humanity Argentina (HPHA) receives Global Village teams that are comprised solely of a single family. But when our most recent GV team, a Canadian group of 14, arrived at the National Office for their orientation meeting, it was apparent that their bond as family members and close friends would push them beyond the expectations.
Some of the very first interactions between the team and Habitat staff demonstrated just how intent the volunteers were on accomplishing more than what was planned for them. With the majority responding that the actual construction activities and tangible results were the two of the most important aspects of the build for them, it was a given that their work ethic would be one of the most prominent things that they would leave behind- which is exactly what they did.
In just four and a half days, the team, primarily from Newfoundland, Canada, was able to log more than 370 volunteer hours, collaborating with six different families and ultimately affecting the lives of 27 family members. The group worked side by side with the Habitat’s partner families and several local volunteers to work together for the improvement of the homes and the neighborhood. Their presence will remain in the community since they left a piece of Canada in La Matanza and gave the residents from this informal settlement in the suburbs of Buenos Aires the chance to get to know Newfoundland and make new friends.
One of the activities they spent the majority of their time in was also one of the most physically demanding: foundation pours. Of which they did SEVEN! Additionally, they dug drainage trenches, cut and bent rebar for support pillars, plastered walls, and painted both interior and exterior surfaces. Yet, even given all of that, one team member commented afterward, “We could have done so much more.”
That statement is a testament not only to their work ethic but also to the humility of the team, because at the end of the day, they did do so much more. The shared bond, selflessness, and love that each team member demonstrated not only left an impression over the course of the week, but will also help to continue Habitat’s mission in the future. The family values that brought the group of 14 from Canada to Argentina are mirrored reflections of the pillars that support HPHA and allow the organization to develop further: mutual assistance, volunteerism, and faith in action. So even though they left the last day wanting to do more, and leave an even bigger impact, from our perspective, they did exactly what they were meant to do- transform the lives of the community members and be transformed themselves. Thank you team! Daonce!
Courtney is a long-term volunteer from the US working as a Field Assistant for Brigades in the HPHA National Office.