Volunteer's Experience at JCWP Proves Habitat Is All about Giving a 'Hand Up'
Kevin Maynard is a Habitat veteran, but he didn't expect the "call to battle" he received in Puebla at his first Jimmy Carter Work Project.
"Our assigned house leader didn't show up, so I got a 'battlefield promotion,'" Kevin jokes. He was prepared for the task by his previous Habitat for Humanity experience—he was in his campus chapter at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and he participated in the Collegiate Challenge program for three years. He proudly proclaims that he's built with Habitat in nine U.S. states—and now one foreign country.
He says the first day of the build was "pretty bad." He didn't feel like he knew what he was doing, and his house, House #26, was behind. Kevin didn't give up hope, though.
"What I thought about is that story about Millard Fuller (Habitat for Humanity International's founder president)," Kevin shares. "He was building in Africa, and they ran out of rebar, so he went looking for some. He found this old, washed-out bridge, and he was hanging off the side of it, trying to cut off some materials to use. A truck driver came by and told him that was dangerous and asked what he was doing. Millard explained that he was building houses, and explained what Habitat was. Turns out, the truck driver was working on a building project nearby, and he told Millard not to worry—he'd have all the rebar he needed.
"Just when I thought there was no way we could get our house finished this week, here comes 'the truck driver,'" Kevin continues. "Other people from other houses pitched in to help us, and now we're even ahead of schedule."
House #26 does look great, and construction has moved right along, despite language barriers, Kevin says. As the week has progressed, it has gotten easier, as everyone has come to understand everyone else's personalities. "I don't know what someone is saying," Kevin says, "but I know what he means."
Kevin proudly introduces the members of his house team, and the homeowners they are helping—José and Patricia. He praises everyone he's worked with for their "come from behind" earlier in the week.
"You think you're down and out, and then people step in to help you, and suddenly you're not," he says. "When you think about it, that's probably how the homeowners feel."