Sparkle for humanity
Did your July 4th sparkle? Did you get to see the BeachHouse and Sandbar extravaganzas or maybe you ventured as far as downtown Bradenton to the Green Bridge? Were the hamburgers and hot dogs the best ever, and did Aunt Betsy bring her famous potato salad? Was your holiday the quintessential American celebration or were you bogged down with the world’s problems?
No matter how down you may be feeling about the financial mess some of us are in, about the oil threatening our beautiful coastline or the value of our property, you have to admit this is a great place to live. And although your house may not be worth as much as it was five years ago, it’s still your home and with the summer in full swing and the Gulf temperature about 85 degrees, what’s not to love about this state?
If, however, you’re traveling around the United States during the summer and find yourself somewhere in the vicinity of Americus, Ga., two hours south of Atlanta, you should stop in and visit Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village & Discovery Center. The museum and exhibits will inspire and enlighten you as it demonstrates how the strength of the human spirit can impact and improve the lives of people around the country and the world, and it just might give you and your children a perspective on the privileges of your own life.
As you probably already know, Habitat’s concept is very simple, people who are in need of a new home work side by side with volunteers to build themselves a decent, safe and affordable house. To date, Habitat has built more than 350,000 houses that shelter over 1.75 million people worldwide.
The village has a collection of 15 life-size Habitat houses from around the world, demonstrating the requirement of varied architecture and construction materials unique to specific regions. A Guatemalan house is designed to be disaster resistant with concrete floors and block walls to protect its occupants from frequent natural disasters. The Ghanan house has walls that are made of sundried earthen blocks and plastered with cement, built onto a concrete foundation and cement screen floors. In Papua, New Guinea, houses are built to protect the occupants from rain and cyclones, constructed in a manner that saves on labor and conserves forestland.
Habitat for Humanity is, of course, very active in the United States with a branch right here in Manatee County that does wonderful work for those in need. The website www.habitat.org will give you information about the International village and links to local affiliations if you would like to volunteer or donate.
Even if you don’t picture yourself with hammer and nails installing drywall, there is a lot to learn from understanding what Habitat for Humanity does for communities. The lesson learned and the mission of Habitat for Humanity is there is always someone somewhere in the world without adequate housing, and some of those people may be your fellow Floridians.
So it’s time to stop feeling sorry for ourselves and appreciate what we have around us, and what we have around us is incredible.
OK, that’s the end of my lecture. Next week we get back to the nuts and bolts of real estate. Hopefully, I can find some sparkle to write about.