|Jimmy Carter Work Project 2003|
"I'm ready to move now!" Lela Chatman eagerly anticipates new home
By Leigh Powell
"This is not where I want to be for the rest of my life," says Lela Chatman, her eyes scanning her small public housing apartment.
Having her own driveway, not picking up trash others have littered in the yard--these things stand out in Lela's mind as she imagines the Habitat house that she and volunteers from around the world will build this week in Anniston, Ala., during the 2003 Jimmy Carter Work Project.
Lela also looks forward to landscaping her lawn. "Let me plant my own trees!" she says. "I want flowering trees, dogwoods."
Lela works as a night advocate at Second Chance, a shelter for victims of domestic violence. In recent months, when she has left work at the shelter, she has on many days gone straight to the Habitat for Humanity of Calhoun County affiliate to put in some of her "sweat-equity" hours helping with office work.
Among her duties has been answering the telephone, and Lela says this job has been a blessing in its own right. Speaking to the many people who support Habitat for Humanity as volunteers and donors has renewed her belief in the goodness of people.
"The world seems so bad sometimes," Lela explains, "and people are all about 'me, myself and I,' but Habitat has shown me it's not like that for everyone."
As JCWP kicks off, Lela can barely contain her excitement. She says with her contagious laugh, "I'm ready to move now!"