I realized during that phone call that Meriem had energy. She had drive. Most importantly, she was passionate about the mission of Habitat and helping families have a safe, decent and affordable place to live. I knew she could raise the money for her trip fee and airfare and make it to Cochabamba in spite of her fears...and she did!
Recently I asked Meriem to reflect on her journey as a Habitat for Humanity international volunteer for my blog.
Meriem, use three words to describe yourself: Three words I would use to describe me are brave, positive and resourceful. I definitely agree with that!
Explain why you wanted to join our Global Village team to Bolivia: The reason I joined the GV team to Bolivia is because I wanted to do my part in continuing Habitat’s mission on a global level. I wanted to help combat poverty housing within the country. As a product of affordable housing programs stateside, I understand the value of quality affordable housing. Additionally, I knew that I would be able to use my Spanish speaking skills, if needed.
Awesome! What was your biggest take away from the trip? My biggest take away from the trip was a greater appreciation for the small luxuries that we have in the United States. I no longer take things like access to clean water and plumbing for granted. My GV trip to Bolivia allowed me to see that it is very possible to live a life with joy without living in excess. Every person that we met, especially our homeowners that we were building for, were truly happy people.
What challenged you the most about the trip? The only challenging aspect of the trip was overcoming my fear of traveling to another country alone. I am used to international travel but this was my very first time traveling alone. That fear quickly subsided after I met another young female traveler on the first leg of my trip.
Why would you recommend a GV trip? I would definitely recommend a GV trip to someone. Since returning back from my trip, I have encouraged others to consider going on a GV trip in order to help them understand why quality affordable housing is a global concern. I also point out how my GV trip inspired me to give more of my time and money to combat poverty housing. I would let them know the benefits of participating in the construction of homes and how it pushes you to your limits. Lastly, the main reason why I promote GV trips is because GV trips allow you to do some serious self discovery and most people come back with a desire to do more.
Thank you, Meriem, for sharing your heart and being a part of making our world a better place to live in. Because of volunteers like you, we are making an impact in filling the need for decent and affording housing. Continue to believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live and work toward making it a reality for the 1.7 billion people worldwide living in inadequate shelter.
~Tammie, GV team leader