Tarbert Shares Habitat for Humanity Experience
by Gabby Tarbert '13
Every year during spring break, Washington College sends a group
of students to Columbus, Georgia to participate in Habitat for
Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that
partners with volunteers and families in need to build simple,
decent affordable housing. This year, a group of 22 students and
faculty made the trip where they teamed up with NeighborWorks
Columbus to build a house for a very deserving family.
I had always heard about Habitat and been interested in it, but I had never gotten the opportunity to participate. Upon arriving at Washington College and hearing about the program, I was quick to sign up. I didn't know anyone going on the trip, but I thought it would be a good way to meet people that I probably would otherwise have never been friends with.
I was extremely nervous and apprehensive that first morning when we boarded the vans in the CAC circle. I didn't know a single person going on this trip. But an 18-hour road trip really gives you a lot of time to get to know someone, and by the time we arrived in Georgia everyone had become friends.
After an extremely long ride and a good night's rest on air mattresses on a church floor, we showed up at the worksite at 6:45 a.m. ready to work. We were taking part in the Collegiate Challenge, with other colleges and universities from across the country who had all made the trip to Georgia to build some houses. Washington College was paired with carpenters from NeighborWorks Columbus, a corporation that was volunteering a week of their time and much needed instruction to help us out. We had a few skilled boys (and girls!) who had previous experience building houses on the trip with us, and they were a huge help. I'm pretty sure it took most of us about five minutes to hammer our first nail in, and in that process I think maybe around four smashed thumbs. But as the week progressed we got better and better.
The Habitat chapter in Columbus provided us with all our meals on the worksite, and free movie and bowling vouchers to keep us entertained at night. The hospitality and warmth of people in the South is incredible, not just from the Habitat people, but all the churches that volunteered their gym floors for a bunch of college kids to sleep on for a week.
After a long week of hard work in all kinds of weather conditions, Washington College said our goodbyes to all our new friends and boarded the vans for the trip home. Habitat was a great experience that I was lucky enough to have the chance to participate in. I just want to say thank you to everyone who made this trip possible with their generous donations, you really helped to make a difference in someone's life.