Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad: the inventors of steel pan music. Come build homes and hope in this “callaloo” of a country – full of vibrant diversity, unity and warmth! An adventure with purpose is waiting for you! Joining a Habitat for Humanity Global Village build is one of the best ways to travel the world. Not only will you experience the reward of working alongside a family to literally change their life, but you will also become safely immersed in the culture and community of a foreign country in a way that no tourist ever could. No construction or building skills necessary; all you need is flexibility, a sense of humor, and a desire to work up a sweat to make a difference in the world. Caution: team members may return home with relationships that will last a lifetime and a severe and rewarding case of “Habititis!”
“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.” – Mother Teresa
About Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is a two-island republic in the Caribbean Sea, just 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Trinidad is the larger island at 1,864 square miles, while Tobago is just 116 square miles. Trinidad has some hills and low mountains but is mostly covered by plains. Tobago is a volcanic island of mainly hills and low mountains, with a narrow strip of plains running along the coast.
The nation has a tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 78 F (25.5 C). Temperatures remain relatively stable all year, but the islands experience a dry season from January to early June and a wet season from late June through December. During the wet season, rainstorms are frequent but usually short.
About Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago
Community leaders in Trinidad and Tobago received approval to open a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in 1996. Shortly afterwards, the keys to the first Habitat house were handed to a family in Sangre Grande. Since then, Habitat houses have been constructed in other communities: Mayaro, Rio Claro, Penal, Point Fortin and Couva.
Habitat houses are built using the culturally preferred materials for construction – concrete blocks and galvanized roofs. HFHTT’s core mission is the provision of simple, decent and affordable housing. Locally Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago has constructed more than 178 houses, served 314 families and 1570 individuals to date.
Type of construction for volunteers
Volunteers complete improvement, finish work, repairs and expansions. International volunteers may work in all stages of construction, from digging the foundation to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.
There will be designated resting zones with drinkable water and portable restroom with water and soap on work sites. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts who will provide construction goals every day.
Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Saturday): Greeted at the Piarco Airport by Habitat T&T staff; welcome dinner and orientation.
Day 2 (Sunday): Cultural activity day in Trinidad; Travel to project location (if necessary).
Days 3-7 (Work days, Monday-Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch on-site (in the rainy season or hot areas the work days will start earlier); free time after work to clean up; supper of typical food; time for team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Cultural activity day in Tobago.
Day 9 (Final day, Sunday): Departure day.
Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week, including cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as traditional dances, market, community tour etc.
Habitat Trinidad & Tobago will determine the best lodging option for your group, taking into consideration the group size as well as proximity to the construction site. Work teams usually stay in hotels, retreat centers or dorm-style accommodations that are basic, safe and clean.
The team will be accommodated with double or quadruple occupancy, per room. Typically, rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, though in some locations, only shared bathrooms are available. Volunteers are not required to bring any bedding, but will sometimes need to pack a towel.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families, and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.
Erika Allison is a mechanical engineer and STEM educator. She’s worked on oil rigs in Alaska, taught high school in Harlem, and now directs a rural science education partnership in Maine. This will be Erika’s seventh year building and leading trips with Habitat for Humanity in destinations like Nicaragua, Mexico, Romania, Zambia, Jordan and most recently at the inspirational 2013 Jimmy Carter Work Project in New Jersey. She also serves on the board for her local Habitat affiliate in Maine. She’s especially excited to lead a trip to Trinidad, as she is a dedicated member of Flash! In the Pans, a steel drum band from Blue Hill, Maine!
For more information about this GV trip to Trinidad & Tobago and to join the team, contact Erika via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.