Aching arms and a happy heart
By John Therkelsen, Habitat for Humanity International software developer and Global Village volunteer
In November 2012, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to participate in a Habitat Global Village build. The volunteers numbered 18, and our ages ranged from 23 to 79. Over the course of five days, we dug the foundations for two Habitat houses. I have worked on a variety of Habitat builds, but I have never seen a group of complete strangers work so well together so quickly.
Digging trenches for concrete requires that multiple teams work with pickaxes and shovels in close quarters. The volunteers who had worked with pickaxes before started swinging, and the newbies picked up shovels because everyone’s an expert with a shovel! The pickaxes were sharp and cut into the dry ground with an authoritative “thunk.”