BY KEVIN MOE
Anna Resman has always been interested in volunteering abroad and has been involved with the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity since freshman year—this year she served as volunteer coordinator on its executive board. So, when she learned that a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip was being planned for May of this year, she knew she had to take part.
Resman, who is majoring in finance and accounting, minoring in Spanish, and planning to graduate next May, spent a week with her fellow volunteers living in the Kenyan town Machakos, located about 60 kilometers south of Nairobi, the nation’s capital. “The village that we volunteered in, Mitaboni, was about an hour drive from Machakos. We would drive back and forth every day—the beginning of the drive was on paved roads, but the second half closer to Mitaboni was all dirt roads,” she says. “Children and adults alike would excitedly wave to us as we passed in our vans. No matter where we traveled in Kenya, we were always welcomed with open arms, lots of singing and dancing, and many smiling faces.”
For the first four days, the group helped to build an addition onto an existing three-room house. In order to build the addition, an external kitchen made from clay bricks and mud was dismantled and relocated. The same clay bricks were used in the relocated kitchen, along with mud made from nearby dirt and water from a small stream. The new addition was made from stone brick and hand-mixed cement. “We were not able to fully complete the addition because we were only allowed to build up a certain number of layers in one week,” Resman says.
Beyond building, the volunteers also created lots of friendships, learned an incredible amount about the Kenyan culture, ate delicious home-cooked meals, and shared countless laughs with the village children. “Some of the adults and children could speak English, but many could not,” Resman says. “We used lots of non-verbal communication to build and work together. Language barriers can be difficult but they cannot prevent lasting relationships from being formed.”