It’s true!, says Annie Kinworthy, who was on a team of seven Habitat volunteers and staff that traveled to the La Paz region of El Salvador to a city called Zacatecoluca to do just that for the Amelia De Rosa Family.
On May 18, Jeff and Kathy Morelock, Dave and Deborah Flower, Matt Carlson, Kinworthy and Mike Watkins left Cleveland to join a team of Salvadorian masons to learn the ins and outs of building a home using very few tools or conveniences, but with plenty of sweat and “umph!”
Kinworthy explained that unlike volunteering with Habitat in the United States where hammers, nails, wooden boards and vinyl siding are the usual elements used to build a home, the group became quite familiar with dirt — lots of it! — concrete, rebar and cement blocks. To build up the floor of the home, dirt was pounded into the ground with heavy tamping tools — affectionately nicknamed “Thunder” and “Lightning.” Concrete was sifted, mixed with more dirt, and poured into the walls of the home between countless rows of rebar, all while balancing on scaffolding. The rebar inside the walls was cut by hand using a saw, then wrapped with hand-made rebar links tied together using wire.
Despite the challenges of eating new foods, bearing high heat and humidity — and a language barrier — while completing physically demanding tasks, Kinworthy said the team kept a positive morale with willing hearts to “do whatever was necessary to get the job done.”
Kinworthy said everyone learned something new and grew increasingly aware of God’s blessings and grace to all of His children. “A true sense of family developed day by day, with smiles, hugs and looks of appreciation when words could not be understood.”
The crew agreed they will never forget De Rosa’s heartfelt “thank you” at the closing ceremony to her new friends from Cleveland for working on her home. The home is nestled in a beautiful, lush green neighborhood, where the De Rosa family will live close to her parents’ home.
From a Habitat subdivision in Victory Cove to a home in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador, one thing is the same — “Habitat families are thankful for the opportunity to own their home,” Kinworthy concluded.