My volunteer team for the Habitat Global Village build at Elizabeth Settlement

It’s Wednesday at 5:24am and I’m waiting for a decent hour to return to my room. I am also the first to arrive for breakfast as always, but today it was a good hour before Orest who is usually the first to join me.

Back (L-R) Heather, Mary Anne, Orest, Arundel, Hershel, Cindy
Front (L-R) Eva, Jonathan, Dave

He officially a senior citizen but you wouldn’t really know it. What you notice about Orest aside from the fact that he is a large man, is his gentle soul. He’s a nice guy – knowledgeable, experienced, humble and encouraging. He’s a team player and very much a team leader. He provides guidance or input, after he has observed and listened for a while.

His career was HR and he was a director of HR for a very large company but I think Orest is made this way and ended up in a career that suited his nature. His curiosity about people, his inclusive and respectful nature and his experience and wisdom make him a great Global Village volunteer and a natural leader.

The second to join breakfast is usually our HFH Edmonton site supervisor, Dave. Like Orest, Dave is knowledgeable, experienced, humble and encouraging. For a guy in construction (20 years) and military (a soldier for 10 years) his demeanour is surprising. He’s been with HfH for a year, loves the job and seems to be able to go with the flow, guiding all the players to success with a combination of strength and forgiveness. I trust him and thank him for his endless patience.

And then there’s the team. It’s mostly very experienced HFH volunteers, mostly folks from Toronto and a small group. Our team lead is Arundel. She is an avid volunteer and a very caring soul. She works in the non profit sector and was the Director of HR for HfH Toronto.

Hershel is a crew leader for HFH Toronto. He and his wife Mary Anne are here and they are experienced builders and a great team. Heather is long time HfH volunteer with many roles under her tool belt. That woman will take on any power tool. Jonathan who joined in last night, is a former HFH Toronto team member who has moved to Edmonton and so continues with the organization. And then there’s Eva, a medical student from UofT who was visiting her parents in Calgary. Lastly, there’s me, on the build to experience whatever it offers. Neither Eva nor I have build experience but I must say that Eva is right in there and contributes her share morning to night.

Now 5:54am and Orest and Dave are having breakfast. It’s been raining all night and continues. Cool and windy. Not the best weather to build floors as safety is an issue (I can see the reaction on Dave’s face) but we’ll wait until the team is assembled, an hour goes by and then build consensus. This is Habitat.


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