For more than 35 years Habitat for Humanity has been building houses for families in need all over the globe, among its most recent Global Village trip was sending a team of 13 to Kenya in late September through early October.
In this exclusive story, Hip-Hop Wired tracks, our senior culture editor, Latifah Muhammad’s, journeys to the East African country.
Building in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, the Caribbean, Central Asia, Canada, and the U.S., Habitat is responsible for the construction of over 400 million homes.
The Global Village aspect of the non-profit was introduced in 1988. Nearly 2 billion people around the world live in slum housing, while over 100 million are homeless. Habitat’s goal is to eliminate this level of extreme poverty, by offering sustainable shelter to those in financial need, as well as those left without homes due to natural disasters, war, and civil unrest. “Habitat for Humanity, here in the U.S. and in other countries, provides housing for people who would never be able to obtain adequate housing without Habitat’s assistance. Particularly in other countries, people frequently live in crowded and squalid conditions, sometimes even sharing their house with their animals.” Jim Douglas, team leader of the fall 2012 trip to the city of Bungoma.
Roughly six hours outside of the capital of Nairobi, Bungoma is a rural impoverished area with many earning a living through farming. On this particular trip, the team traveled to the home of a 48-year-old mother of four, who housed young women in her village, some of whom were born out-of-wedlock and had been abandoned by their immediate families.
Named the “Lucky 13,” the team— consisting of volunteers from the U.S, China and Italy— helped to construct a separate housing unit, for the women. “A Habitat home is a tremendous step up,” Douglas continues. “The Global Village program is a great way for volunteers in the U.S. to combine helping those who are less fortunate with a desire to travel — frequently to very out of the way places. To help a family turn a patch of dirt into a new home is a very moving experience.”
Although the team did not complete the construction of the house, they built up to 13 levels, leaving room for windows and a roof to be put in at a later time. Douglas, who has worked in the Peace Corps, has led several trips to continent. “This was the seventh GV team I’ve led to Africa, the first time going to Kenya. Our local hosts from the Bungoma affiliate of Habitat were great — very pleasant and committed people who were ready for our arrival and very well-organized. The team of volunteers was hard-working, cooperative and fun to be with. All in all, it was a very rewarding, productive and enjoyable trip.”
In between build days, the team was given the opportunity to further immerse themselves in the culture, visiting landmarks like the Crying Stone, Kakamega Forrest National Reserve, Lake Naivasha, a local school, and other areas around Kenya.
For more information on how to donate or volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on a local, national, or international level visit www.habitat.org.
Click below to see Muhammad’s personal photos of the build, and surrounding areas in Kenya.
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Photos: Latifah Muhammad