Habitat for Humanity: Ghandi was right

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

I’ve just spent the day carrying buckets of mortar, moving rocks, cutting rebar and shovelling dirt, and I feel fantastic.

Before I left to come to be part of the Habitat for Humanity build in Bolivia, I worried about how I would deal with the strain of the hard physical labour. And make no mistake, it’s hard physical labour.

Right now, I feel so energized after spending my day doing one small thing to make one small part of the world just a little brighter.

On Sunday night we met the family with whom we will build the house. They are a hardworking family with two children, but no matter how hard they worked, they just couldn’t manage to save enough to get a home of their own. They needed a little boost. Habitat gave them the hand up they needed.

Habitat has a “hand up, not a hand out” philosophy.

The family that will live in the house we’re building will build it along with us. When it’s done, they will have an interest-free mortgage that they will repay to Habitat for Humanity. That money will cycle back into more homes for more people. When homeowners help to build a house brick by brick—self-construction they call it—and when they pay for it themselves, there is pride of ownership and a feeling of accomplishment. 

The family we are working with is overwhelmed that a team of Canadians would come to volunteer their time to help them with their home. It seems fitting. They neighbourhood where we are building the house is called “Canada.”

No wonder I feel so at home.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on January 30, 2012, in Gratitude, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest, outreach, quote and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. People like you make the world a better place. Thank you.

  2. Sounds great Arlene!
    I am glad you are doing well and enjoying the experience. Can’t wait to hear more!

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