Going into this trip, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. On Monday, I had the honor of volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Even though sorting through a 10 foot tall pile of linens is tedious, I made some new friends along the way. I met people who volunteer at the restore every day from 8:00am to 4:00pm, and who never stop smiling. One guy told me to ‘tell all the people up North that people in New Orleans are the nicest people you’ll ever meet,’ and he was right. Even though these people weren’t getting paid for what they did, they always put 110% into everything. Unfortunately, even with a few volunteers working every day, there is still an overflow of items that are donated, so extra volunteers are always great. Sometimes you just need more hands involved.
Tuesday was when I started at the build site. As soon as I was assigned my first task, I fell in love with this trip. There were three houses that my group was specifically working on this week. Each was in a different stage; one just started, one almost complete, and one in the middle. The best part was that I got to work on all three at one point. I learned how to insulate walls with caulk and foam, and how to paint a ceiling. The most shocking part of this trip to me was that I actually helped put up the walls on the frame of a house. It was amazing seeing this house going from just a frame to something that was almost ready to live in.
On Thursday, the homeowners of two of the houses came to visit. Although I didn’t have the chance to talk to them myself, I know they were ecstatic to move into these new homes, and I couldn’t be happier to help make their dreams come true. I learned on this trip that Habitat for Humanity isn’t just a handout. People that apply for these houses have taken home owner classes to care for their house, and they have put in a certain amount of hours into building Habitat houses.
Through this trip, I have met people who made it their life to build these houses for others. They are some of the kindest and most patient people I have ever met for mentoring us this week. I also have a new group of truly amazing friends who have never failed to make me smile and laugh. Lastly, I have pushed myself beyond my limits. Each day, I made a goal for myself, and each day I succeeded in that goal. I came into this trip interested in Habitat for Humanity, and now I am finishing this trip personally touched and inspired by Habitat for Humanity. I have learned to be very thankful for all I have, and to live what I think is a happy life, because in the end, that’s all that really matters.