Two groups of Kincardine area residents have helped Habitat for Humanity build homes in the Cape Croker First Nation community.
For Chandra Tripathi, it was the first time he had worked on such a team and it was an amazing experience.
“When I first heard from my co-worker about the opportunity to volunteer to build homes in Cape Croker First Nation community with Habitat for Humanity, my ears jolted, recognizing a unique experience, designed to bring about true changes, rather than empty discussion,” says Tripathi.
“When the day came, I realized there were 11 volunteers from Bruce Power to finish four homes. The work included caulking, siding, cleaning, loading and unloading large appliances, and other activities to give a final finishing touch.”
Estimating a two-hour drive from his home in Kincardine, Tripathi and one of his co-workers left at 6 a.m. in order to meet the other volunteers and the building co-ordinator at the site by 8 a.m. All volunteers arrived on time, and Tripathi met one of his friends from Ripley.
The group met with the site co-ordinator who explained safety, and then assigned the work for the day.
“My focus was to make meaningful contributions as well as interact with beneficiaries of these homes, their chief and other volunteers,” says Tripathi. “During the break, I started a conversation saying Aanii (hello in Ojibway). Some of the people shared their stories with me about their current life and the life of 50 years ago.
“I saw the gratitude in one woman’s eyes. She had three children and four puppies in her car. She told me that her children and puppies will come to live with her in one of these homes.
“The chief and a few other members recognized me from working together at the Kincardine Multicultural Celebration. They said they had attended celebrations more than once in the past 16 years, since I began running this annual event. I invited them to attend the next event May 12, 2020, in Kincardine.
“At the end of the day, around 4 pm, I was not surprised to see that four homes were almost ready to be given to families before Christmas which proves the quote, ‘Many hands make light work’.
Though his muscles were sore the next day, Tripathi was happy to be part of fulfilling volunteer work that would genuinely make a difference in the community.
“I am looking forward to the next volunteer trip, so that I can solicit, a diverse cross-section of members of the cultural group in our community to join us on this deeply-rewarding, home-building journey and contribute to the community, as a way to break barriers and build the bridges,” he says. “Though I have been volunteering for more than 20 years in the areas of environment, education and diversity, this hands-on experience was different and built inclusion, trust and an abiding sense of fulfilment.
“I encourage you to consider volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and other volunteer groups.”
Chandra Tripathi (third from right), with volunteers from Bruce A Chemistry and Environment at Bruce Power at the Habitat for Humanity project in Cape Croker; photo courtesy of Chandra Tripathi
Matt Harvey and seven of his friends of Kincardine also spent a job day, earlier this month, at the Neyaashiinigmiing Reserve, Cape Croker, helping to complete homes in time for residents to move in for Christmas.
They left Kincardine at 6 a.m. in order to arrive in time for the 8 a.m. orientation. The team had a great opportunity to learn trades, such as flooring and kitchen cabinet installation. The job day was sponsored by Harvey Financial Solutions Inc. of Kincardine.
Working with Habitat for Humanity in Cape Croker, are Les Pomeroy (left), Mike Diebel, Jim Phillips, Simon Billing, Eileen Simpson, Jeff Simpson, Matt Harvey and Graham Hancock, all of Kincardine; photo courtesy of Matt Harvey