It’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and Miroslaw Kawka is standing among the fields of rye, wheat and oats in the small village of Redzynskie.

This family farm dates back to the late 1930s.

It was once farmed by Miroslaw’s father and grandfather. Today, this land, which includes cattle, pigs, grains and potatoes, not only generates the family’s income, but it also provides their food.

The home we’re helping build as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village trip to Poland is nestled on this 20-acre farm. After just our second day of work, it was clear we had made some real progress.

The plastering around the back door that I had been working on since Day 1 was nearly finished. (I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t have taken that long.) The drywall in the bathroom was complete. And exterior paint was being rolled on. I’ve never seen paint so thick. Nor have I seen a shade of green much like this. (I would describe it as “pistachio.”)

As we left the job site Tuesday afternoon, right before we played an impromptu soccer game with the family’s children, all of us marveled at how beautiful the house looked.

More importantly, it’s been interesting to see the bond that is already forming between the volunteers and members of the Kawka family.

In the morning, for instance, Agata Kawka served us homemade “zebra” cake – a hot marbled pound cake topped with powdered sugar. One of the little girls played with Molly, a volunteer from Tampa. And just before the soccer game began, Irene, one of the young women in our group, slipped off her sneakers and gave them to Veronika.

The giddy 8-year-old, who didn’t think she’d be able to play because she was wearing open-toed sandals, slipped on her borrowed sneakers and ran onto the field to join her brothers.

Earlier in the day, when I asked Miroslaw what he thought about all the volunteers who had helped build this home, a huge smile suddenly appeared.

“Wow! Great people. You have such big hearts. You set an example of helping people in need.”

 

Mark Waligore - Board PresidentMark A. Waligore is the president of the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity/DeKalb. This is his first Global Village trip, and he’ll be writing about his experiences all week long.