Jannah’s AmeriCorps Experience

“In my country, women don’t do stuff like this.”

I have heard this twice since I have been working on a Habitat construction site and it makes me feel a certain mixture of sadness and happiness. Sad because in some countries women don’t have the opportunity to build and work with tools; and happy that I am blessed to live in a country that allows it.

When Alana, one of Habitat’s future homeowners said those words to me, I realized this was the first time she ever used a hammer.

I knew that the tasks of the day would either increase her confidence or shatter it, so I started her out on making feet (hammering a 2×6 to a 2×4 that would then be attached to floor joists). At first, hammering the pieces together deemed a bit difficult for Alana but after a switch of hammers (I gave her mine) and a little bit of practice she got the hang of it!

The happiness I witnessed after seeing her hammer in her first nail was priceless. I was SO happy to be a part of that experience with her! By the end of the day she was asking me for more projects to practice her hammering.

Habitat is unlike any other non-profit by requiring homeowners to build their homes alongside construction supervisors and daily volunteers. The happiness Alana felt after hammering in her first nail will not only boost her confidence in her ability to build but will also shine through to when she finally lives in her home. She will proudly be able to say she built her home; it wasn’t just given to her.

This opportunity to build makes Habitat homes so much greater than any other home. Now Alana knows that in this country, women actually “do stuff like this” and she can happily say she does too.

~Jannah M. AmeriCorps Construction Crew Leader