English is the main language of Trinidad, but that doesn't take anything away from the fact that this tropical island has a wonderfully mixed culture, full of much history, tradition and variety. A large percentage of the population lives in inadequate housing, so we're putting together a team of dedicated individuals that are looking to make a significant difference in the lives of one of those families.
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 86 F (30 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 293 houses, served 1320 families and 3951 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.
Day 2 (Sunday): Cultural activity day in Trinidad; Travel to project location (if necessary) and orientation.
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. Farewell dinner Friday evening
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 occupancy per room, but may occasionally be tripled based on the make-up of the team. 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.
Tom had never done much volunteer work during his business career, but when Hurricane Katrina occurred he felt compelled to lend a hand. He volunteered for one week and it changed his life, as he discovered that one person truly could make a difference in the lives of others. He stayed as a volunteer for six months, and then ultimately was hired by Habitat for Humanity in Knoxville, Tennessee. He remained as staff there for five years, but got bit (hard) by the Global Village bug, and was on 10 GV trips in just three years. Tom has now moved to Trinidad (to oversee their Global Village program), and has developed a lot of local knowledge - and is looking forward to sharing that with all team participants. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .