Ever since I first read about Habitat for Humanity builds in Time magazine in the 1980’s I have wanted to take part in one of their builds. Initially, it was because I loved the idea of building a house – I have a thing for tools. In more recent years, it was also because I liked the idea that an alternative solution exists for those who otherwise could not afford decent housing. It took being a Zontian to make it so easy that I just had to go.
Here’s what I learned
1. Wielding a hammer for hours on end will stop you from complaining about carpal tunnel syndrome ever again. It was agreed.
2. There is a lot of expertise required to build a house whether it’s framing, laying linoleum or installing insulation. Construction work is not only physical but also meticulous. We sometimes forget the smooth running of our lives is dependent on experts everywhere.
3. There are people out there who volunteer to do this type of thing once a week, like forever. WOW!
4. Framing the main floor of a home can be done in under a day- we started the next unit before we left. Cool.
5. No project is completed without sustenance. Thank you to the church group who cooked us a delicious lunch and thought of the vegetarians among us.
6. You can hit that nail into the 2×4 even if your arm and aim is wobbly if you swing at it often enough. Just keep on swinging.
7. Your grip is important. If you’re not getting the result you want, check it out and adjust. Be brave enough to find your best grip regardless of what others around you may suggest.
8. There is no room for error when framing a house so do it right and if you miss your mark be prepared to do it over. Great lesson for building the other aspects of our lives.
9. It takes all kinds to build a vibrant community, including those multi-national companies who often get a bad rap. Yeah, Manulife and the IT people who showed that day.
10. I look good in a hard hat and work boots, but I think I’ll still stick to what I’m doing.
In case you’re wondering I will definitely do this again and maybe make it an annual thing.