Habitat For Humanity In Trinidad

By Alexandria Erin

Trinidad was a short stop for us on our Semester at Sea journey. As we were only in Trinidad for two days, I did not get to explore too much, however, I did get to have an awesome experience doing a field program through SAS with Habitat for Humanity.

Starting early in the morning we bussed to a part of Trinidad about an hour bus ride from the ship where a woman and her daughter were having the house built for them. When we pulled up they were there to greet us with open arms. After we were introduced we went right to work. As the group from the day before had painted the outside of the house blue, we were to paint the window frames white. After painting we began to move the piles of different sediments that were going to be used for laying cement and leveling the ground around the house. I personally helped move wheel burrow after wheel burrow of sediment from one pile to dumping it along side the house and in the back of the house over and over. I also helped level the sediment out in order to level out the land in a means of trying to create the right environment for laying cement or growth of a lawn to one day have a yard.

I couldn’t help but remember when my family and I had a house fire in 2009 and how it felt to be out of our house and bounced around due to being told it would not take long to get us back in and then the weeks turned into months and then those months turned into a year more than we were promised. It was frustrating not having my own room. We didn’t get put into another house because we were told it would only be a few weeks, but that didn’t happen and it soon became too late to be moved into another house because no one knew when as it was taking longer than expected to get the house back together. It meant a lot to me that I could help this family get into their house faster because I remember what it was like to not have the comfort of one’s home for a year.

After all the hard work we put in, we headed back to the ship. This experience was amazing for me. I felt like I had been understood in a way that I hadn't felt before. I haven’t met anyone who has gone through a house fire or lost their house, and if I have we have never talked about it. The family we were helping didn’t know I had gone through something similar to them, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was I was able to understand their situation and in return for having this need for a home in common, I felt like I was also understood. 

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