Chance Encounters Part II

My November 4 blog entry chronicled my expectations, and I suppose whining, about not seeing familiar faces at local events, or in various airports heading back to Boise, Idaho when I have lived in the Treasure Valley since 1977.  Upon further reflection, I recalled a time when I did in fact see a good friend on a plane traveling from San Francisco back to Boise the fall of 2010.  It is a sweet, fortuitous story.

Having been involved with Habitat for Humanity since, 1994, I try to participate in a Global Village when I can afford it.  All Saints Episcopal Church sponsored my first Global village build trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1997.  The summer of 2007, I joined a team to Radauti, Romania.  That trip primarily consisted of my money combined with a  small contribution from a personal development fund through the College of SSPA at Boise State University.  In addition I worked on a research project that helped fund the trip. http://sspa.boisestate.edu/publicpolicycenter/files/2010/05/MobileHomes_Boise.pdf

The team leader from the Romania trip, Martha, kept me on her list and frequently extended offers for me to join other teams she led. Finally the timing seemed good, and I accepted her invitation for a build in Izabal, Guatemala leaving late October 2010.  I was extremely nervous about being able to raise the money.  I consulted with a few friends, one of them a vibrant, dynamic, positive and enthusiastic young woman, Sally Boynton Brown.  Sally and I had gotten to know each other working on a local legislative campaign.  Sally not only encouraged me to go, but to also  put up a fundraising website page.  She was confident folks would sponsor my trip.  I then planned to email updates to donors from Guatemala and host a thank you reception upon my return.

It felt awkward and extremely humbling to solicit financial assistance..  However, the response was generous donations from many family and friends.  People expressed excitement and gladly threw dollars in the travel pot.  The total cost of the trip which included room and board was about $1,200 in addition to the cost of a plane ticket.  The resulting contributions paid for about 90% of the expense.  The gift of donations took me to Guatemala where I spent  two glorious weeks with 14 diverse teammates from throughout the United States.  We helped build two homes, and experienced the incredible culture and scenery of Guatemala.  Another unforgettable experience with the Habitat for Humanity Global Village build program.

The return trip included a stop in San Francisco, and then on home to Boise.   My weary, sore, but buff body settled into my seat towards the back of the plane.  We had engaged in intense labor, mixing cement on the ground, hauling blocks, and moving wheelbarrows full of sand.  All seat belted in, exhausted and ready to doze off,  I glanced up to watch the remaining passengers board the plane.  And who do I see about 10 seats in front of me – Sally with her family.  What are the odds? We wave at each other; she flashed a brilliant grin and asked, “You just returning from Guatemala?”    I know a  big smile illuminated my face, “Yes, Sally, I am.  Thanks to your encouragement and belief in me, just back from building in Guatemala.”

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