A group of thirteen SLU students, most members of the Habitat for Humanity Club, spent spring vacation in Statesboro, Georgia volunteering
with the organization.
After a two-day trek in SLU vans down the east coast, the group arrived in Bulloch County in time to help Habitat for Humanity build their 42nd house in the county for a woman and her family. The house was almost done when the group arrived but they spent a busy week painting, installing doors and frames, building a utility shed for another house, and planting a garden.
Students were separated into three groups: one for building the shed, one for painting, and one for taking care of the lawn. Jobs included rototilling, hammering, roofing, and painting trim, walls, doors, siding and windowsills. Each day they awoke at 7:30 for breakfast and then worked on the building site until 4 p.m.
Mike Patroni ’12 said the trip saying, “especially for those on the trip who had never worked with Habitat before, these moments will be hard to forget.
“It’s a strong feeling, knowing how much you can build with your own hands. We didn’t just build constructions, sheds, and houses, but relationships, ideas, and teams. Meals were full of laughter and sweet conversation, and our daily end-of-day meetings brought out thoughtful reflection, gratitude for others, smiles, surprises and even happy tears.”
There were several rewarding and memorable moments on the trip which included building a shed from scratch and seeing it through each phase of the building process. On the one day they had off, the group toured the town of Statesboro and got to see the landfill and recycling center and the Water treatment plant in the morning. They then moved on to the botanical gardens and wildlife center at the University of Southern Georgia. This was an added educational treat for the many biology and environmental studies majors on the team.
Although Habitat put in a lot of hard work over what is supposed to be a relaxing break, Mike didn’t seem phased. About the ride back to SLU, he said, “once we got to Virginia, the windows were down in the vans and spring was upon us. Now it’s snowing again. It was as if we stepped into a southern fairy tale full of fried chicken, BBQ, blooming azaleas, and warm smiles and accents. It was good to give the mind a break and do some work with our hands.”
The Habitat for Humanity Club meets every Tuesday at 7pm in the Crandell Room of the Student Center. Feel free to stop by and see what this great group of kids is all about!