Yesterday was the day that truly reminded us why we’re here. Why we decided months ago that this is how we wanted to spend our spring break and why we spent months raising money. It was the day that we finally gave the family their new home, a home that they would be able to not only survive in, but live in.
After our typical morning start the day we piled in the vans one last time to go to the build site. Conversation included typical witty morning commentary along with intensive practicing for the house dedication ceremony (fostered by none other that Mr. Whyte himself).
When we got to the build site it was just like every other day; we were able to look back at our progress from the day before and then be greeted by the kind grandmother we were building the house for.
The morning progressed just as it had the four days prior: we kept on building. After an hour and a half of mixing more cement and carrying more bricks, we put down our gloves to begin the house dedication ceremony.
It began with statements from the family which we had built for. The gandmother shared her sincere gratitude and told us how it would have been hard for her to save up the money for a house on her own due to her age and a medical condition which made working difficult. Hearing that made me think back to the multiple occasions when she was there alongside us passing the heavy buckets of cement, it made me realize how much she wanted and needed this house. The grandfather expressed similar statements of thanks, and later on I could see tears welling up in his eyes as he was officially welcomed into his new home. It was then our turn to make statements to the family, in which Alex, Jackson, Johnathan, and Ms. Rhodes spoke on behalf of the entire team by expressing our gratitude and appreciation for being able to build this family a new home.
We then proceeded to the front of the house where we formed a circle, arms around each other. It was now our turn to show the family as a group how much we truly appreciate and care about the work we just did, and we had decided the previous night to sing an excerpt from “Home” by Phillip Phillips (which I’m listening to right now as Andrew has been singing the same line periodically throughout this van ride). We then passed around the key to the home, in which everyone hands it off and it ends in the hands of the homeowner. The family then proceeded to the front door and cut the ribbon welcoming them home (beautifully put together by none other than Parn and Johnathan) and we all followed inside to sign our names on the wall.
After a twenty minute extension on Parn’s originally allotted five minute period for pictures we eventually trickled into lunch. Afterwards we head to the vans to head back to the hotel, but made sure to look back on the house we built and our job complete.