Since arriving in South Africa Erica and I have been striving to find a balance between our daily routine, fun tourist type activities and meaningful experiences – one of the ways we have discovered to both have fun and a meaningful experience has been by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

During Erica’s time here in 2004-05 she was sponsored by CIDA to work as a volunteer crew leader with Habitat for Humanity. It was a memorable position and as such we made it one of our main goals to volunteer with them during our current time in Cape Town.

We have yet to get out to do a full build – full builds take an entire week and we haven’t yet found the time to arrange that, but thanks to friends at the Habitat office and a dire need for volunteers on several “corporate builds” we were able to volunteer on two separate builds in two different weeks.

The first build Erica and I went on our own and had an incredible experience. Several of the builders remembered Erica as a crew leader and welcomed both of us back as if we were Habitat staff and old friends. We spent the day moving bricks, mixing “dugha” (cement) and brushing up on our Xhosa. Well, Erica was brushing up; I was simply learning.

After our first build day we were told the following week’s corporate build was short of volunteers so we organized 3 friends - Ardil, Shane and Tamiya who rallied at late notice to join us on our next build. The build day with them was simply wonderful.

If any of you ever find yourself with the opportunity to do a Habitat Build please do so. It is a great experience that allows you to see another side of whatever country you are in and a chance to get to know and contribute to a new community. I guarantee that you will not regret it. The builds are happening in countries all over the world and are making a wonderful difference one home and one volunteer at a time.

Enjoy the photos and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me and I’ll do my best to answer them.


*All photos are credited to Erica with the exception of the ones she is in then it was likely me that took the shot.