(above) The Habitat LA team, local staff members, and future homeowners
A team of twenty-four, including seven Habitat LA Board Members and five Habitat LA staff, flew down to Lo de Marcos, Mexico this past January and spent a week building homes for three families in the Nayarit province. They were joined by several other donors including those who won seats on the trip during the live auction at the 2018 Los Angeles Builders Ball®.
The trip participants joined local staff members in building the concrete-block walls of three homes. Their work over the course of the week saved each of the families a month in the construction schedule for their homes.
For Isabel Lee, Chief of Staff for Habitat LA, it was her 11th Global Village trip. She ranked it among the best she has ever taken “because we helped three families at the same time: two single mothers and a young couple.”
Unlike in the U.S., each partner family hires its own architect and its own mason to mix the mortar that holds the cement block homes together.
“The mix of water, cement and sand was different at each house we worked on,” said Jennifer Wise, Senior Vice President of Resource Development. She was especially impressed with the young couple’s brother, who also helped with construction. “I’ve never seen anyone mix mortar so fast,” she said.
Construction Production Manager/Quality Control, Juan Alfaro, found the construction process to be much different than the projects he oversees here in Los Angeles. There were no power tools, no ladders (at times, the homeowners stood on each other’s shoulders to reach high spots). Even the shovels used to mix the mortar lacked full-length handles, which required the people doing the mixing and shoveling to bend over all day. “It was a reminder of how good we have it here,” said Alfaro.
The work was tiring, but the look on the face of Gabi, one of the homeowners, when she saw the first room of her house completed, was the greatest reward of all, said Darrell Simien, Senior Vice President of Community Development. “There were tears in her eyes as she recognized her house starting to take shape.”