Blog 1: Habitat for Humanity International - Paraguay
We've got the right team.
I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the group participating this year's local Habitat for Humanity's International Build program on our journey to Paraguay. Nine locals volunteered to travel to the Southern Hemisphere with the Eagle and Lake County Chapter to build a home for a family in need. Though the trip took nearly 60 hours from Vail to Asuncion, the excitement didn't wane. The icy and snow packed roads on the morning of Oct. 23rd were thought to be the worst part of the trip, but then tornadoes in Dallas canceled our flights connecting us from Denver to Sao Paulo, and long lay overs made for some weary travelers, but it also gave us a chance to get to know each other, and a chance for me to realize that this was a pretty special group of people...to endure all this, yet still be excited to build a family a home half way across the world.
Amanda Precourt - Our fearless leader, who set up the International Build program for the local HFHELC chapter (Habitat for Humanity Eagle and Lake Counties) never wavered from being in charge, even thru lack of sleep, canceled flights and dealing with uncooperative airline reservation agents. She’s traveled extensively and giving back to these communities truly is a passion of hers.
Ben and Nancy Broder – both are retired and Nancy is active in the Fox Hollow Project in Edwards. Talk about dedication, Nancy has volunteered every single Thursday this past summer. She came out several days throughout their Woman Build week and since she'd gained so much experience over those three months, she became a group leader and inspired other women to take part in such a male dominated field. Ben simply said he signed up for the 10 day adventure because “he can’t trust his wife alone”! But we couldn’t have accomplished what we did without Ben’s leadership. He and Nancy have been a great addition to our team and we’re glad to have them here.
Steve Conlin and daughter Maddi - raising his hand for the highest bid during a live auction at the Evergreen Ball this summer lead the father-daughter team to South America. This veterinarian from Eagle hopes to instill the spirit of giving at a young age to his two children. Maddi, a 14-year-old at Vail Mountain School has been excited for months to take this journey, was busy asking the Local HFH leader, Claudia, many questions since she is going to utilize this experience for a school project.
Corey Lamothe - a returning member from last year, which is quite a testament to the program if she is taking time to volunteer and travel all this way once again to serve. She says this is incredible cultural and learning experience and that sometimes we take for granted everything we have and it’s rewarding to see how much appreciation the family and community have for the volunteers.
Kristi Moon - Marketing Director for Habitat. She’s excited to see the international side of the organization. The part she likes best about the job – domestic or internationally - is meeting the family. To be able to build alongside a family means a lot to her.
Patrick Zimmerman – A former house builder himself in the Vail Valley, and no stranger to building homes for HFHELC at Fox Hollow, he travels internationally quite a bit and we are counting on him for his language skills since he seems to be the most fluent between all of us.
Paraguay, which is home to six million people and roughly the size of California, is the third poorest country in South America, yet its literacy rate is the highest. Just outside of the capital city of Asuncion is where our group will be working for the week, building a modest brick and mortar home for a family of four. The father is a police man and the mother is a teacher. This local chapter of Asuncion aims to house teachers through Habitat build programs due to their goal of keeping teachers close to their schools. Teachers make around $300 per month and these families go through a similar selection process as our local chapter, which takes about six months. Ability to pay, need, and sweat equity are taken into consideration, as well as home education classes which will help the families stay on track for successful home ownership.
Three professional masons will be helping our group and the home we are building is approximately 527 square feet and costs about $6,340 USD. Tomorrow is our first day, jet lag is setting in; we are three hours ahead of Mountain Standard Time, and we hope to give you a glimpse into what we are experiencing here in SA and encourage you to join your local chapter of Habitat. A little travel, hard work and an adventure can make an enormous difference in a family's life.