September 17, 2014
Like many people, I spend the majority of my day at a desk working in front of my computer and talking on the phone. I work with nonprofits, helping them raise funds via eBay and PayPal, and one of the perks of my job is that I hear inspiring stories about the impact donations have on causes and lives. This makes what I do worth it but, when I have the chance to meet nonprofits and see such impact in person, this makes my heart grow even more. So when I was fortunate enough to travel to Pondicherry, India, to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity on one of their Global Village trips, I jumped at the chance. My trip took place in March 2012, and I was accompanied by fellow eBay employees, US and India-based Habitat employees and the local families who would soon move into their new homes. For the next week, our mission was to help build three houses in a village which had just been severely impacted by monsoon season. We painted, shoveled, laid concrete and – together with my new teammates – we worked together like a well-oiled machine. Physically, it was hard work. Yet that just made our goal – and the need to give all we had alongside Habitat and the partner families – all the more important.
I remember one afternoon late in our build, as I lifted a bucket of fresh cement. I was supposed to lift it from a squatting position on the ground and hand it up to an assembly line of people who had a well-coordinated momentum, handing off the cement towards the roof. As I lifted the bucket, my tired arms buckled, and I dropped the wet cement everywhere. Yes, I felt embarrassed but, in the immediate moments afterwards, I witnessed a team doing what they do best: help, recover and keep moving forward. It was one of my favorite moments and - you’ll be happy to know - I made sure not to drop another bucket of cement!
We ended up contributing to three houses. We joined the families who would soon move into the houses and participated in housewarming ceremonies with the community and children. Our hard work was about to change these families’ lives forever and contributing to that made all the hard work, sweat and spilled cement worth the effort.
I share my story with you because I hope you’ll consider learning more about Habitat for Humanity, and the lives impacted by volunteers and supporters like you. I also hope you’ll volunteer some time – even just a few hours one weekend – to work on a project with Habitat. I promise you: you’ll do good for deserving families, but you’ll also leave with a sense of personal pride and accomplishment. Whether you’re interested in going on an international build or staying local, there are tons of opportunities out there. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity and how you can support them on eBay, go to www.ebay.com/habitat.
Written by: Sara Orrick, Nonprofit Relationship Manager with eBay Giving Works. Sara was a Global Village Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity International in March 2012.