Habitat for Humanity Offers Many ‘Volunteer Vacation’ Choices
Worldwide itineraries blend recreation, perspiration with inspiration
AMERICUS, Ga., Nov. 13, 2003 -- This year, rather than lollygagging in Las Vegas, or baking at the beach, or even cocooning to read in the Catskills, how about mixing a little recreation with perspiration. Better, mix some recreation with perspiration to provide inspiration as a means to refresh the spirit, the body, or both.
How, you ask? Turn to the “tour directors” at Habitat for Humanity International, which offers myriad “volunteer vacations,” worldwide itineraries that promise significant recreation with reasonable perspiration, and ultimately, recreation rewarded by inspiration.
The inspiration stems from helping people around the globe achieve the dream of simple, affordable housing – the primary mission of Habitat for Humanity International. Tourists and travelers visiting cities and townships across America or countries such as Fiji, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland or Madagascar take time away from sightseeing to don tool belts, wield hammers or mix mortar to build lives and communities for people they will quickly come to call friends.
With more than 365 trips each year, Habitat’s volunteer vacations fit every preference and schedule, though with these trips, participants bring home far more than a few ready to be scrap-booked snapshots. Moreover, you never know who you may meet or run into.
Jimmy Carter Work Project 2004
In October, you can join Habitat's most famous volunteer, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, in Puebla and Veracruz, Mexico. Between Oct. 24-29, 4,000 international volunteers will come together to build 150 Habitat for Humanity homes in a single week. As elsewhere in the world, the houses will be for low-income families who volunteer their time to build their homes and the homes of others as well as pay back a zero-interest, no-profit mortgage.
For participants, the week will be richly rewarded by the knowledge they helped build better lives and better communities by being part of something greater than themselves, and then by earning some well deserved time off. Besides, where better to relax than Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico, or Puebla, birthplace of Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo festival?
Veracruz is known for its Caribbean atmosphere, colonial architecture and renowned seafood. The city’s zocalo, or main square, is one of the most animated in the country, and attractions include historic forts, a naval museum and aquarium
Puebla, near Mexico City, is the site where on May 5, 1862, Mexico defeated Maximilian's French Foreign Legion. The city has more than 60 churches, including a grand 16th-century cathedral. There are also museums and nearby is an African safari, featuring more than 250 species of wild animals from around the world. Cholula, the site of the Tepanapa Pyramid, once the world's largest pyramid, is also nearby.
Laying foundations for the future
For those with a faraway gleam in their eye, Habitat’s Global Village Program offers such destinations as Ghana and Ethiopia in January and June, the Fiji Islands in March 2004, Northern Ireland in May, New Zealand in January, Romania in May and June, Brazil and Honduras in February, even Hawaii in March 2004. Global Village trips offer experiences and opportunities unlike many others, chances to lay foundations not only for new Habitat homeowners, but also for cross-cultural understanding and a greater awareness of the worldwide need for decent, durable shelter around the world.
Working on Habitat homes alongside team members and local residents gives participants the chance to travel, work, eat, sleep and enjoy fellowship as a member of the host community -- creating memories and friendships that last a lifetime. Costs are typically between $1,500 and $1,700, plus round-trip airfare.
Contact: email@example.com 
(800) HABITAT, ext. 2549
See America through your windshield
Habitat has a place, too, for volunteer vacationers who see life from a “rubber meets the road” perspective. In the RV Care-A-Vanners program, those who take their home with them as they travel pack up their recreational vehicles and tools and head out on vacation builds.
Care-A-Vanners are a diverse lot, men and women from all walks of life. They are single, married, retired, mid-career, or just out of school. However, they share one thing -- a commitment to eliminating substandard housing and a willingness to learn from and partner with local affiliates and homeowner families. Care-A-Vanner builds take place in the United States and in countries around the world where participants can rent vehicles, truly mixing inspiration and perspiration with recreation. For 2004, a team will be traveling in their own RVs to work in Newfoundland.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 
(800) HABITAT, ext. 2446
The world from Americus, Ga.
For vacation volunteers who want an international work experience, yet enjoy the comforts of home, Habitat's Global Village & Discovery Center is the perfect destination. Volunteers help Habitat bring the world to life from its international headquarters in Americus, Ga., by building a replica village of houses from around the globe. Using authentic materials and house plans, volunteers hand press bricks, mix mortar and lay tile roofs exactly as they would in Malawi, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and Sri Lanka, as well as elsewhere. The global community will educate visitors to the plight of those families who need decent, affordable housing.
(800) HABITAT, ext. 2338
Tired of the traditional?
For students looking for a productive and altruistic way to spend their school breaks, Habitat for Humanity's Collegiate Challenge program provides students with the opportunity to build houses in partnership with Habitat affiliates and homeowners across the United States.
While spring break is the most popular season, Collegiate Challenge offers build opportunities throughout the year for student groups of five or more, aged 16 and older. This fun and rewarding experience gives students opportunities to not only help themselves, but to help others at the same time. Students often leave with a sense of personal growth, social responsibility and the desire to do more to effect positive change in the world.
Contact: email@example.com 
(800) HABITAT, ext. 2515
For more information on volunteer vacation travel opportunities with Habitat for Humanity International, log on to www.habitat.org .
Habitat for Humanity International is a Christian ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Founded by in 1976 Millard Fuller, along with his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity International and its affiliates in more than 3,000 communities in 92 nations have built and sold more than 150,000 homes to partner families with no-profit, zero-interest mortgages.