Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives! A "Hearty Band" of Builders
Building Homes! Rebuilding Lives!
A "Hearty Band" of Builders
After the Pilgrim's landed in Plymouth in late December 1620, they had to live aboard the cold, and by now, befouled ship. Many were ill and about half of their small band died of scurvy, viruses and exposure.
During their first winter, the few able-bodied Pilgrims had to build shelters for the rest of their party. They had to row ashore every morning and wade the last few yards through icy water. All day, in wet clothing, they chopped down trees, sawed boards, erected stone footings and hearths, and built houses no larger than your living room. Against the cold, they set windows made of oiled paper. By the time of the first Thanksgiving, this "hearty band" had only completed seven of these rude houses to house fifty people.
During these days leading up to Thanksgiving 2008, another 'hearty band' is busy building a house. They took up their saws, hammers and nails and are actually, physically building a house. But it is not for their family, but a home they are building for a family living in substandard conditions. Safe affordable housing is a basic necessity for every family. Without a decent place to live, people cannot be productive members of society, children cannot learn and families cannot thrive.
It will provide shelter for a family living in our community. It is a Habitat home being built locally by a "hearty band" of women. They are members of Habitat for Humanity's Women Build program. Their goal is to have this home completed by Thanksgiving 2008.
In 1991, a group of women in Charlotte, N.C., completed the first women-built Habitat for Humanity house. With this, the seeds for Habitat for Humanity's Women Build program were planted. Thousands of houses have been built by women crews around the world - by the end of 2008, more than 1,400 homes will have been built since Women Build's official creation in 1998.
"Women Build" is part of Habitat for Humanity's volunteers. It is a team of women from all walks of life, willing to accept the many challenge's of physically building a house from start to finish. Some of these women have worked on Habitat homes as volunteers alongside the men volunteers.
They have gained some knowledge of the construction business. Many others, however, had to learn on the job. Some took special courses offered by Lowe's, the national underwriter of the Women Build program.
Classes that taught them to install windows, drive nails, saw lumber, hang siding, caulk seams, hang wallboard, and many other topics. They found new muscle aches, banged up fingers, experienced cuts and bruises, but conquered it all. The local Habitat Women Build team has now built three homes since 2005.
The Women Build program is women who are determined to think outside the box, learn new skills, make a difference in the lives of children and families, and show that they are not only the main nurturers of the house, but can also build a house. It's a program that empowers women.
Any women interested in becoming part of this exciting volunteer project may become part of it by contacting Habitat for Humanity office at 301-791-9009.
William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.