A brigade of international volunteers from the US and Canada spent the last week of July working in the northeastern province of Santa Fe doing home improvements with families as a part of Habitat for Humanidad Argentina’s Global Village program. For five days, this group put their construction skills (which some of them got to flex for the first time) to use to speed up the home building process by working side by side with family members.
At Soledad and Walter’s house, volunteers sanded and painted window and door frames and filled in a cement floor. Although this was the first Habitat experience for some of them, they worked like pros. The group also sealed holes and cracks in the walls, which made a significant impact during the rain Thursday night. When the volunteers showed up at the site on Friday morning, the family expressed sincere appreciation that no water seeped through the cracks overnight.
Volunteers also worked in Cruz Roja, so named because the homes in the area had been first donated by Red Cross. Here they filled cracks in the houses’ walls with putty and helped to get water running by placing pipes and setting up sinks in the kitchens.
Outside of the work done in individual homes, the brigade also cemented paths in the plaza. Not content to allow that to be their only foray into the recreational area of the neighborhood, the volunteers played a friendly game of soccer with the local children. A great time was had by all, especially by the children (it didn’t hurt that they won!).
After a day or two of hesitation, the families in Recreo had really warmed up to the brigade. Despite the significant language barrier, there was a lot of interaction between the residents and international visitors throughout the week. It’s always amazing how much one can communicate without using many words. All in all, a success!
Stick around – we’ll also have an update on the Global Village brigade working in Greater Buenos Aires later this week.