Kevin McShane — "Watch your thoughts, they become words"

Friday June 24th, 2011

Friday June 24th, 2011

Our last workday in Macedonia, I woke up at 8:00 and laid in bed for  about 45 minutes and reflected on my time here. Its has gone by unbelievably fast, and we have done and seen so much… its like just the other day we were meeting in Valley Football Center in a classroom to learn about some country over in Europe that almost no one had heard of. Here we are in the heart of Macedonia, building an addition to a home for a family who speaks little no English, yet we understand each other with the most universal sign of all: a smile.

We all got to the worksite today and had a slow day with smaller tasks and of course some brick moving;) We moved about 300 bricks from the ground to the roof, mixed some mortar and worked on the foundation for the brick wall that would be placed in the trench we dug over the last few days. The local contractors took today off so we were not able to work on the roof at all, plus there is a local superstition that when building a roof you must start at the beginning of the week otherwise your home will have several years of bad luck. We finished the day and our time working here by putting up the basketball hoop we made. It is made out of wood, nails, rebar, and the frame of bicycle wheel, it is a simple but pleasing thing that everyone in the neighborhood can enjoy. We took some pictures, said goodbye to the kids who were there and took one last bittersweet walk away from the home. Around 2,500 (ballpark) bricks moved, countless pounds of mortar, and buckets of sweat lost and hard work were all put into this house over the last 2 weeks and now it is over.

We returned to the hotel and relaxed for a few hours before walking into Kumanovo for dinner. We returned to the restaurant with the big burgers for another tasty meal; salads, bread, and grilled meats filled our hungry bellies. The family whose house we have been working on got dressed up and joined us for dinner, although we didn’t not converse much because the language barrier, we mutually enjoyed each others company and exchanged several smiles. After dinner, one of our Habitat for Humanity leaders, Milan, said a few words and thank you’s, followed by Taylor doing the same, I spoke on behalf of our cohort and thanked Taylor and Matt for being such great leaders and guides on this adventure- plus the AMAZING camera and video work they have done!! As we left we thanked everyone in the family for letting us come help and they thanked us. Each hug, handshake and kiss they gave us was different than any I had felt before. No words needed to be said; through their actions I could feel their gratitude and appreciation for us and what we have done with them over the last 2 weeks. True emotion came through them and it literally warmed my body, I had never felt anything like it before. Similar to this trip, this was something you cannot explain and something someone cannot understand or full appreciate until you experience it for yourself.

We headed back to the hotel, some people went out to the city to explore while others stayed at the hotel to relax. This has been an amazing journey so far, 2 weeks I will never forget and will cherish forever.

-Kevin

#NP Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen- Baz Luhrmann