Day 14 Jessica and WilliamMay 29, 2011
Today marked the last day of our "Holiday" as the Poles kept calling it. To us it was never a holiday, it was a way to change our lives with a new perspective of learning and service. With this being said, we spent our last day bonding while maintaining a sustainable living space for homeless men with Habitat for Humanity. This building would not meet any code inspections in the Unted States. The faces of the men and representatives from the town showed us the importance of what we were truly doing.
Gratitude with smiles is what we saw the whole day. Demolishing old flooring, mudding walls, painting, sanding and sweeping led us to 7 hours of hard work. All 12 of us worked in the little bedroom we were assigned as today's project. This bedroom will be used to house several of the men at this facility in the future. They had only planned for about 40, but 100 men showed up last winter. As we heard this we were eager to work even harder and went about drying grass clippings to be used as mulch to maintain the land. We also turned over a garden where fruits and vegetables will be planted for food.
After a chat with one of the volunteers, another student and I found out more about what goes on here at this habitat. They hire people to teach the men we saw about art and other activities. This gives them the opportunity to express feelings and gain back confidence in themselves. In fact, confidence is one thing that this habitat shined with. Habitat for Humanity Gliwice has two missions. One is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world by helping partner families in building their homes. The other is to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action by promoting Habitat's mission in our local community and by encouraging people to get involved. This is the one that we personally adopted for the day.
Our efforts were a footstep in their organization hosting itself as a global village. This is when a team from another country comes to volunteer on the site. So far they have hosted over 60 teams. As we left with a 80% finished room that had started off in ruins, they shook our hands with compliments. In fact, they told us we were welcome in Poland anytime. The thing that meant the most was the hospitality they served us. From lunch to water with a few snacks, we were their family for the day. Truly as leaders we felt we would be their family for a lifetime.
Being apart of a project like this was the perfect capstone to the underlying meaning of this trip, privilege. We were truly able to see what we have. It may not be excess electronics that make us privileged. It is our homes and our ability to make a living in a country where we can do whatever we want. To be able to put our privileges down for the day and help pass it on to almost 100 men was something we will never forget. The transformation we have had as a team the last 14 days has been a huge eye opener. As we look back in regards to the group in the beginning, we all felt as acquaintances, but as we part tomorrow, we know that we are friends and family. This is a bond that has been tested, but was made stronger through our service we have dedicated as global citizens. We came here with a suitcase and several leadership terms stored in our brain. We now leave today from the job site with a common purpose and specific qualities and examples that have made us who we are this very minute. This is not a leader, but a ball of clay. We are not liquid anymore for we have solidified our thoughts and actions and have sought within ourselves the true meaning of what it means to be global leaders. We are now able to go on out in the world even with paint brushes in hand and mold ourselves into the shape that any situation brings. As we pack our green worksuits into our bags, we will never forget our habitat, the world.