Volunteers abroad connect with new homeowners they serve




Habitat homeowner Jancey Johnny



By Larry Galante, Global Village team leader

I recently returned from a fantastic Global Village trip to Kerala, India. Besides the amazing food, breathtaking scenery and backbreaking work, it’s the spirit of the families we work with that stands out most.

My team had the pleasure of working alongside Jancey Johnny as we broke ground on a new home for her family. Jancey is a widow in her early forties with two teenage children. After her husband passed, she became the sole income provider.

Jancey works as a tailor in a small, rented space of her own. Near the end of the build, she brought us to her shop, where she proudly demonstrated her tailoring by embroidering “thank you” on some fabric for us in a gesture of gratitude.

On Habitat builds, it’s easy to get caught up in the physical tasks at hand. In the end, though, our presence and new connection to the family sometimes act as big blessings themselves. It makes a large impression on a community when a group travels thousands of miles to a small village in a foreign land to work in the hot sun for a whole week, all in the hopes of helping a family they’ve just met build a safe home.

When our build came to an end, Jancey turned to me and said, “I am very, very thankful that you are here.” Words can’t express how I felt in that moment, but if any word could come close, “blessed” would have to be it.