5 Day Build with Habitat for Humanity in Honduras

We have seen a lot of poverty on our travels around the globe. We didn’t want to turn a blind eye, but we also realized that we can’t fix poverty all on our own, so we started to do some research. We really liked the Habitat for Humanity‘s mission statement, “To mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home-ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.”  

So through Habitat Global Village, we chose to go to Honduras, a country with over 70% poverty rate, and holds the daunting title of “Murder Capital of the World”.

I was worried that with zero construction experience and without having gone to a gym in years, that there would be a problem on the work site. But we soon discovered that with limited tools available there was a job for everyone’s level of fitness and experience.

Each home is 600 sq/ft with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and an open area for living and eating space. The construction of the home is cinder block and rebar, which will hold up in the event of an earthquake.

Day One:  Adam spent the day digging foundation footings, and I spent the day cutting and bending rebar.

Habitat for Humanity _Digging Footings for Foundation

Day Two:  Adam spent the day digging out a septic system  and carrying cinder blocks into the house space, and I spent the day bending and tying off rebar towers. The simplicity of the jig made of nails was efficient and easy to use.

Habitat for Humanity - Bending Rebar

Day Three:  I spent the day shovelling the cement ingredients – gravel, fine gravel and sand – into wheelbarrows (estimate around 200 total wheelbarrows), while Adam built and mixed the cement volcanoes and carried buckets to pour into the foundation.

Habitat for Humanity - Shovelling and Sifting Sand
Day Four: I spent a second day shovelling and sifting sand for mortar and built more rebar towers for the roof. Adam used the cement and mortar to build the cinder block walls.

Habitat for Humanity - Cinder Blocks and Mortar

Day Five:  The final day of our build, we ran out of supplies, but we finished up the cinder block walls as high as we could, leaving it in good shape for a second group of Habitat Volunteers to come in the following weeks to finish it up.

Habitat for Humanity - 600 sq ft home coming to life

This build was a lot of work, and we were both in bed early every night. But what made this build even more satisfying was seeing how excited the homeowners were to have us there. We were building the house for the little girl, Hanni, below, and I fell in love with the little boy, Omar, who had just moved into his Habitat home a couple weeks before.

Habitat for Humanity  - Why we were doing the build

I initially had safety concerns, but soon realized that Habitat does not take any chances, and every detail had been well thought out – from the water supply, to the first aid, to the transportation and more.

We came home from this experience, knowing that we were going to do another build in the very near future. Along with 2 Million other volunteers annually, we can “Serve to make a world of difference.”

If you have any questions about our experience before you sign up for your own build, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Notes of Interest:
Cultural Day in Gracias, Lempira, Honduras
An afternoon in San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Mayan Ruins in Copan Ruinas, Honduras


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