GREETINGS, FROM POLAND
A lawyer from Philadelphia. A comedian from New York. A college student who knows first-hand the blessing of a Habitat for Humanity home.
These are just some of the folks who will be joining me in Warsaw this week as we finish building a home for a Polish family. The family of eight is currently living in one tiny room – a room without a kitchen or a real bathroom.
It’s all part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip.
For me, this trip is particularly special. My father’s family came to the United States from Poland. Back then, before it was “Americanized” on Ellis Island, our last name was spelled Waligora. (Dad has jokingly referred to this trip as a pilgrimage to the “fatherland.”)
That I’ll be spending more than a week here, in a country I never thought I’d have the chance to visit, is pretty remarkable.
That I’ll be helping others build a home for a deserving family will be even more amazing – and incredibly rewarding.
On Saturday, I’ll finally meet those in my group. For now, they remain faceless names on an email chain that began last year. The real work begins Monday morning when we’ll gather at the job site, working for nearly a week to finish the home.
As for getting to Poland, let’s just say building that home might be easier.
With the change in the time zone (Warsaw is six hours ahead of Atlanta); a nine-hour flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam; two delays and a long layover; then another flight to Warsaw, I’m finally here – more than 24 hours after I left my home on Wednesday afternoon.
Over the next week and a half, I’ll be providing dispatches from the trip. You’ll learn more about the volunteers giving up part of their summer to help others. You’ll hear from the family as their dream of owning a home inches closer to reality. Along the way, I’ll share some of the unique sights and sounds of Warsaw.
But first, I need to take a nap.
Mark 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..