Out and About | The House that Love Built ? ? ?

25 Apr


I’m not usually one to write about the musings of my mundane days, but I think my experience today is worthy of record, as it proves that there is a great difference between the ideal and the realistic, even when it comes to charity. Once a week I have to come up with a grand “field trip” to entertain my students, all of whom are international twenty-somethings, and all of whom are highly educated; thus, a ‘field-trip for twenty-somethings’ is a bit of an oxymoron, and each week I scrape my humble mind trying to think of places to go during school hours that does not involve sacked lunches with Capri-Sun.

Two months ago, then, I had the oh-so-bright idea to give Habitat for Humanity a ring and volunteer my students, (without their consent of course), to build a house for the poor. In the back of my mind I entertained the lovely image of students from all over the world, with hammers in tow, happily pounding away as they resurrected an abode for the poverty stricken (and yes, “It’s a Small World After All” was serenading my charitable daydream).

Reality Check:

We all awoke at the bloody hour of six am, and arrived at eight to meet the lovely building crew, consisting of one very pissed-off foreman who had more art on his arms and legs than there is in The Modern. Rather than hand out nails and hammers and explain the fine art of construction, he began to hammer us with commands which none of us were able to decipher, as my students, who have been studying English for one year, could teach him a few things about English grammar. And then the rain began. A few leery students climbed upon the roof and hammered here and there, but most of us stared blankly up at the falling rain clutching our Star-bucks, as there was nothing else to do. At lunch, which consisted of mackerel-tinted bar-b-que, I summoned up the courage to ask the scary foreman exactly what we might have to do after lunch. His reply: “If anybody ain’t come back, that’s fine.” I have no idea what this sentence might mean, but I chose to interpret it as a green light to call it a day.

When I arrived home early, a tornado blew through, so I suppose we made the right decision to abandon our charitable intentions.

So, the house that love built? Let’s re-word this misleading phrase – “If you build it, they’ll be pissed off.” And next time I’m feeling charitable, I’ll write a check.

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3 Responses to “Out and About | The House that Love Built ? ? ?”

  1. Anonymous April 29, 2007 at 8:50 PM #

    You know, some people consider Habitat for Humanity a rewarding experience . . .

  2. k.b. April 29, 2007 at 9:04 PM #

    OMG, you are ALWAYS thinking about poor people. That’s sweet. 🙂

  3. katya May 1, 2007 at 5:20 PM #

    Habitat for Humanity can be a rewarding experience, but that day was anything but rewarding. It was a day of rude people and bad weather. We went with the purest intentions and left with a bitter aftertaste. It was definitly not a rewarding experience.

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