It’s time for another home building update, isn’t it? If you’re new here, Mr. Houseful and I were accepted as a partner family with Habitat for Humanity late last year. We started our sweat equity in March of this year, and are a little over halfway completed with 500 hours of required volunteer work on our own home and the homes of our neighbors and other partner families in the city.
To say that the journey has been easy is an extreme understatement. Working around work schedules, and school schedules, and schedules in general has been overwhelming. Missing out on fun outings, and parties, and events has been sad. Having to deal with paperwork, and sometimes the very archaic thought process of others around the program has been deflating. I’m hoping to talk about those things one by one sometime in this series, but if you need to catch up before you read those, you can do so here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Mr. Houseful has taken off every Thursday from work for a while (which in and of itself is a blessing and a bit of a setback) in order for us to double up on our required sweat equity so that we can knock the remaining hours out before we move so that Nathaniel can start high school IN the neighborhood that he needs to be in. If we don’t move in before September, I’m afraid that we will be living out of boxes in our current residence (which isn’t as bad as it could be) and shuttling to and from school each morning. Going 111 blocks south twice a day is not my idea of a great way to maximize my time. I know that plenty of people do things like this each and every day, it’s just not something that I would LIKE to do. If I had to, then so be it, but let’s be real. I would find it a pain in the rear.
So, as it stands, we’re currently volunteering every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for the next month and a half at least. My MIL is watching the Houseful of Littles during the week, so that Nathaniel can attend summer school that’s required in order to receive a scholarship for the school he is attending. Is this the way that ANY of us saw ourselves spending the summer after 8th grade graduation? Not at all. I’m sure we ALL figured we’d be some where relaxing, because it’s needed. Badly. Instead, we have six weeks of summer school, six weeks of volunteer work, no vacation this summer and hopefully a large scale purge and move. We’re going to make it.
The highlights of the entire process have been the groups of volunteers that we have been meeting. Some of them seem genuinely surprised to be working along with the partner families whose houses they are helping to build. Others seem to be Habitat for Humanity professionals, and just love being able to do the work. Still others, sometimes make me feel less than. Less than adequate. Less than well off. Like a charity case. I have to shake that feeling off. I’m not sure if it’s the way that they look, or sometimes the statements of “No one is going to see that” that make me feel some kind of way. For the most part, we correct as we go. Letting them know that YES, someone WILL indeed see that because the family is right HERE! It’s empowering in a way, but so exhausting and sometimes quiet depressing.
Overall, we have some volunteering rockstars. We’ve worked alongside the Zurich Corporation, and the Chamberlain College of Nursing this last week alone. They knocked it out of the park!
Now that I’ve kind of decompressed about the bumps in our road, I can share with you the fact that I will be taking the next step with Habitat for Humanity and traveling to Lesotho, South Africa to help build a home for a caretaker of orphaned children. Being able to build with another partner family across the globe makes me a little giddy! I want to learn from the experience, yet also I can’t wait to exchange stories of build days with Mr. Houseful. As with anything for Habitat for Humanity, everything is donation based, and I won’t be able to go without a little bit of help. So, I went through GoFundMe which gives an entire rundown of what the funds will be used for. I’m not sure what else I will be doing – maybe a carwash, and some hardcore sewing of reusable grocery bags, so look out for that. Until then, well – until tomorrow when I announce the Chicago Women Build initiative.