Introduction to a day in a volunteers life.
Early Saturday morning, I was excited about what the day held for me. It was the day I was going to give back to society as a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit making organization that works with poor families around the world to help them put up affordable housing which they pay through small mortgage contributions.
Housing is a basic need, which some may can take for granted and forget that some people in the world may never afford decent housing if no body puts in effort to assists them afford one. The business model for Habitat for humanity is the solution to the housing shortage situation. The organization lowers the cost of construction by partnering with the home owners, and using crowd funding to purchase materials then using labor from volunteers making it cheap to put up the house. The home owner then pays small premiums back to the organization. This is a sustainable solution to the affordable housing to everyone.
This day I was headed to Wabach Valley in Terre Haute , my friend Denisse who was also the coordinator for the day’s activity has informed me that we were going to be painting exteriors of houses on a given street. The service was neighborhood revitalization. This is whereby the Habitat for Humanity partners with volunteers and new home owners to change the looks of the neighborhood so as to have an increased impact of its work. The model of revitalization not only makes home neighborhoods beautiful and more decent, they also work as a way to give back to the society by giving them not only homes but also decent environments to live in. The improvement of neighborhoods gives a holistic approach to the homeownership plan since a home owner may not afford a house in a decent and safe place but though this program he is able to get his hood made safer.
I got to the site at 0830hrs the painting job was set to begin at 9000hrs after a brief meeting with the home owners and ten other volunteers whom we were to work with. We had previously communicated as a group as were consulted with each other on the dynamics for the day and also collected information from Denisse on what was expected of us on the material day. After the instructions were given, we set out to work. Even though we had come dressed, we had to change into overalls since paint jobs can be a bit messy.
The day’s work included painting the exteriors of ten houses. The home owners had put up the houses some years back but were struggling with the fact that the houses were dilapidated and made the street look shabby and unsafe making most people associate it with crime and for that matter even the criminals took advantage. The dilapidation was generally caused by caused by the climatic changes and pollution. Acid rain caused by the environmental degradation had resulted in the corrosion of roofs and walls. (Giddens,. A. (2009). Denisse instructed that we shall each paint two houses since the home owners were to assist with the less technical details.
The first step was to dust the wall as much as one would, I would then apply a layer of white water based paint rolling from the top of the wall to the bottom. As one side dried, we moved to the next until the whole house had white base paint. Next was to apply the first later of water based under coat. The street has selected a different color for each house. They had however maintained a laid back theme, the houses I was painting had chosen a cream color for one and off white for the other, alternated with coffee brown. The next layer was the cream color which I painted all round leaving out the base line which I later painted brown. This outer layer was also water based but non soluble paint. The choice of this kind of pain was for environmental safety. The oil based paints were non-biodegradable hence posing a risk to the environment and especially if left over pain was to be poorly disposed. The home owner had selected brown for the bottom part of the house as he said that rain drops would splatter some sold on the walls, the color would not show much of it even though he assured the team that he was going t maintain the beauty of the house by keeping it clean. Alternative houses had selected different shades of the yellow and some used white but the bottom part of the houses about ten inches from the ground were all painted in the coffee brown color. It was also good for the uniformity of the street. The team would makes a joke suggesting to the homeowners to change the street name to coffee brown.
The aesthetic impact of the job we had done could not be denied by the time we were done, the street was bright. It was a total transformation of a previously dull neighborhood to a beautiful and safe one. Dark alleys were now easy to see through eliminating chances of pick pocketing, and way laying of residents by rowdy youths which they claimed was common. One look at the street made me realize how much impact my little effort had on residents were grateful. The results was amazing, the coffee brown color blended in so well with the shades of white making the houses bright and looking almost new. It was a fulfilling experience, I was grateful at the chance to change someone life and give them a safe environment to live in. The experience made me realize that the happiest people in life live their lives for others to benefit. A self-centered life is not fulfilling, but one aimed at making other people’s lives great is.
Through the painting activity, the neighborhood got a new vibrant look. The previously unpainted and peeling walls that almost reflected hopelessness were now shinning a new beam of light and beauty in the street. Houses presented a well patterned painted street. The look was vibrant, safe and inviting. It went without saying that the residents of that street would definitely be enjoying the fruits of their communal spirit which had just enhanced their quality of life. Habitat for Humanity was definitely going to get more client from the neighboring streets who were intrigued by the results if the day’s activity. Thereby increasingly fulfilling its mission to house those that cannot afford normal mortgage structures for decent housing.
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