Mission Accomplished: How Was Your Vacation?


Habitat for Humanity volunteers pose in front of newly constructed house

In the early 1960s when South Africa instituted Apartheid, 3 million people (mostly of color) were relocated.

Although Apartheid ended in 1994 the effects continue: unemployment is high, education poor, and poverty extensive. People live in shacks with no hope of a decent “roof over their heads.”

Enter Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village. Capable teams are recruited by partner organization Anir to build concrete block homes:  two bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, and living room.

Excerpts follow from the blog of Tocci controller Johan MacKenzie:

“The Build: On the first day we put up 75% of the exterior walls.  The bricks were passed along an assembly line up to the house.  It took four people at a time to mix mortar (duggha). The walls were finished and the gable ends up on the second day. On the third day, we built the interior walls. The team worked well (no slackers). A builder’s dream: all the materials were on site every morning. The homeowner was there too. Tea time was 10:30. To find out about our snack called fat cake, check out the blog. On day four we built the roof:  trusses were raised, and a waterproof barrier was installed. There is no plywood only the strapping to install the tiles. On day five we installed the doors and cleaned up the site in the morning. Only the finishes, one more layer of duggha for the floor, the plumbing hookup, and stucco for the exterior remained. In two weeks those would be completed and the owner will move in. ‘Yeyole’ (meaning, ‘this is it’) was our chant for the last day. The site and house were clean, and the doors and windows were installed. The house looked great.

An emotional dedication began at 1:00. The Habitat and Anir teams, Reverend George, and Noxolo, the new homeowner gathered in a circle. As each of us shared what this experience meant a common theme emerged: pride. Unless we came to build, there would be no house. But Noxolo and her daughter have a house, and we know this house is going to forever change their lives. Keys were handed to Noxolo. The house became a home.”