With the most noble intention, the awesome team at National Instruments went to the Habitat for Humanity Organization to build a home. I’m not using a metaphor, we actually went there to build a home.
How does it work? The organization invites families that need a house but can’t afford one, comfortably. So they ask the family members to earn themselves a house by contributing 150 working hours towards building someone else’s house. We went as volunteers to contribute in various tasks like painting, carpentry, electrical work, mechanical work, fencing, plumbing, etc. When we reached there, we found many other volunteers like us, springing with energy to get started on building homes for others.
We introduced our group to the other volunteers as the Product Management group from National Instruments, when someone just asked to our surprise, “So do you play them or you make them?” We burst out laughing and clarified that we had very less to do with making or playing musical instruments.
Then was the distribution of tasks and our group got divided into Painting, Fencing and Gardening. Ralph and Nate were our Managers and we were to simply follow the directions they give to us. Aziz, who had finished 100 working hours towards getting himself a similar house, accompanied us in the task. The image on the left is what the house looked like before we started working on it. The thought of seeing someone live in the house kept us all self motivated in the tasks that we were doing. This was a very different experience for me. In my country, the irony is that the labourers who build homes for others, have no shelter for themselves and their families. The spend their entire lives building homes for others, never being able to get a solid house for themselves.
This was also a great way to enrich the bonding within our team and all thanks to Nisha for coming up with this initiative. While Nisha was taking care of the painting department, myself, Mike , David, Jake, Todd and Joey helped with fencing. Here are some moments worth capturing:
A beautiful moment when I saw Azia, perhaps picturing his own house very soon:
David, working to perfection. This also reminds me of that funny moment when David said to me with a smirk, while we were fencing, “Shivansh, you have spent your entire day nailing and screwing.” Just then I accidentally scared him by pushing the drilling machine close to his hands and he said in continuation to his previous comment, “Not people, please!”
Nisha, deciding to paint herself in excitement:
Mike and Todd on the heights. Unfortunately, I could not capture this one, so I had to photoshop. But they were actually on the top, working on the roof!
This is me, I was overwhelmed all this while.
We could bring a visibly drastic change is the look and feel of the house at the end of day’s work. And the smile on our faces, tell the story!
One of the most productive and eventful days of my life was 11th December 2014! Hopefully, we will make a visit to this house in Feb 15, when a family would have started living here 🙂