The end of October brought another open Global Village brigade, this one made up of members from all over Canada. They spent two weeks working with Habitat families from communities in Recreo, Santa Fe, accompanied by our two field assistants (including one who happens to be a fellow “canadiense”!). In addition to being one of the longer brigades we have hosted, this was also the first international brigade for our new local office coordinator, Cecilia, and she was a fantastic improvement to the team!
On the construction end, the brigade got to work finishing some projects-in-progress. If you remember from earlier posts, Vero currently has a loan from Habitat to build a Core House in Barrio Mocoví, and she has now hosted three different Global Village brigades since September. The advancements on the house that she has been able to make with the help of the volunteers have been remarkable! Working with Vero, her husband and their construction foreman, the team was able to finished the septic tank well that was first started by the students from the Lincoln School of Buenos Aires. With the most labor-intensive aspect of the septic system taken care of and the bathroom cement floor in place, volunteers then were able to dig ditches for the pipes of the plumbing system. The volunteers also went to the houses of other families in the community to paint the frames of the doors and windows, creating a “cultura de mantenimiento,” as recognition for that they are ahead or up to date with their payments. The loan payments go into a rotating fund that provides loans for new families, so these families are furthering the cycle of community empowerment.
Community development and interaction took center stage for a number of different projects over the two weeks. With the participation of the Mocoví football league’s coach, the group filled holes in the ground in order to level the playing field and planted trees around the park. They also painted garbage cans with beautiful images such as the Canadian and Argentine flags, the Habitat logo, and bilingual “USE ME” messages. The coach was definitely excited to get his players back on the field with it now so even, clean and safe. Also within Barrio Mocoví, some of the volunteers had the opportunity to go to the local school to learn more about the music and indigenous culture of the region.
The brigade also happened to be in town for the 13th anniversary of the local health center. In honor of this, there was a big celebration attended by all of the center’s personnel (doctors, psychologists, nurses), families from the community, the mayor of Recreo and of course, the Global Village group! To get the center ready, the volunteers helped sand down and repaint the flaking walls of the center’s two buildings. And with the help of some of the nurses and women of Recreo, they made 30 pizzas for the party. For the 100 or so attendees, it was a welcome day of music, dancing, games and workshops for the children.