Furthering the cause of former President Jimmy Carter
Newport Beach, California resident Glenn Bozarth is an avid traveler/explorer who also donates his time and efforts to Habitat for Humanity. Glenn works it out so he can tie-in the house-building projects with tours and trips. Last month he went to the Kingdom of Jordon to help build a home and here’s his story.
For five unforgettable, almost surreal days we built walls, a home, memories and friendships!
Our Habitat for Humanity team of seven flew in from California and Oregon. We traveled by van two hours north from Amman to a remote rural village near Pella. But first, we made short visits to the ancient Citadel ruins of Amman, and the Roman city of Jerash.
This was my 12th International ‘build’ with Habitat for Humanity. Every one is unique and powerful. We went to build a home for 23-year-old Yaseen, his 22-year-old wife Hadeel and their 1-year-old baby girl Besan.
Sleeping on floor mats while giving back
We also knew that this ‘build’ would be a bit ‘rustic’. We would be sleeping on floor mats in a guest house and having our meals in homes within the community, also seated on the floor.
We’d be living the lifestyle of the village. What we couldn’t fully realize in advance was how very welcoming and beautiful these people are. It was such an authentic experience.
We usually start on the ground, but this time we’d be upstairs, building walls of concrete block for a 700-square foot, 2-bedroom addition atop the home of Yaseen’s family. We worked in a small second-floor area, so it was a very busy scene. The photo shows an open space with pillars for support ready for the roof at to go on.
Temperatures were in the 90s, with not much cooling at night. The heat seemed relentless, as did the flies, on the worksite and in our living quarters. We had ceiling fans at night, but no air conditioning. Loud speakers delivering the ‘Call to Prayer’ started at about 3:30 a.m., and a chorus of barking dogs erupted with some frequency, joined at sunrise by the crowing of a rooster or two.
But the gracious hospitality and warmth of these people more than made up for any of that. Four or five times a day we’d be served sweet, hot tea, always poured from a metal pot into cut-glass cups. There were also ‘shots’ of strong Turkish coffee. And every meal was a true ‘spread’, with as many as eight or 10 delicious home-prepared dishes laid-out on the floor in front of us. On more than one occasion the food was cleared, and Arabian music started. And we were on our feet for a dance party on that same floor. I brought balloons, and they’re always a hit.
Our Habitat host Mohammed translated for us. And this went far beyond directions on the worksite. We had candid, open discussion sessions where we talked with our host families about the differences and similarities between our cultures.
We all agreed that we’ll never forget these people. While they didn’t share our language, they definitely shared everything they had with us: their goodwill, their friendship and most especially their hearts.
It is men and women like this team of Habitat for Humanity participants that help make the world a better place. I thought it would be a nice post to put up during Thanksgiving week.
Happy turkey day to all.