Impact of Building A Home: From The Eyes of a Volunteer

The past couple of weeks we’ve posted stories of the impact of building a home. From the recipient to the builder to the donor to the entire community, everyone is impacted in some way. Jane’s house build brought together people from all over…from builders like Steve Bishop to children who pushed wheelbarrows to donors living in Texas to guys who came to volunteer and do whatever needed to be done. Joel Thorman was one of those volunteers. Recently we sat down with Joel to talk about how the experience impacted him.

What year did you go to South Africa to build a home and who was it for?

I went in April of 2018 and was a part of building Jane’s home.

Do you have any specific building skills? What types of things did you do on the construction of the home?

I don’t have any specific training skills although I did work for 7 months prior to this trip doing basic construction. On Jane’s house, I helped to dig the foundation and trenches, cut block, and mix cement.

Was there a certain moment that stands out to you?

There were 2 moments that stood out to me. The first one involved a dog being stuck in a pit. I heard yelping, so I went to rescue the dog. It took me 20 minutes to earn his trust to rescue him. As the dog was walking away, I heard God whisper, “I had to do that with you.” I had a lot of spiritual pride holding me back.

The second moment was when we finished the house and handed over the keys. I heard God say, “When I open a door, no one can close it.” After asking how to say thank you in Siswati, Jane’s sister looked me in the eye and said, “You will speak Siswati.” It was the first seed to what my future would look like.

How did this experience impact you in the long-term?

It helped to build confidence in work and problem solving. I learned a lot of skills for my future job as property manager at uVillage.

January 2020, Joel moved over to South Africa to work full-time with our project in White River. He has taken on the role of property manager as well as human jungle gym for the kids in the Feeding Program. His experience of building Jane’s home had a direct impact on him moving over where he’s now able to be a part of future home builds!

To donate toward a future house build and make a significant impact everywhere, visit our Buy A Brick page.

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