Habitat for Humanity Volunteering Spring Break part 1 / 3

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I spent my spring break in Sumter, South Carolina volunteering for organization called Habitat for Humanity. It’s non-profit organization that’s mission is to build safe houses for people and families who need them. They use volunteers to meet their goals. At least in Sumter they had couple supervisors that had a lot of experience of construction working (and I guess one of our supervisors was also an engineer) and one group of volunteering college students for every week. Everyone can take part.


The awesome group of ONU Habitat Sumter 2015 volunteers! ❤

For us as ONU students our local branch of Habitat planned everything: meals, transportation, information before leaving, housing and of course organized the working itself. They also had organized us some free time activities like visits to Sumter Mall and Swan Lake. In ONU we had to apply to trips about 5 weeks prior leaving and I’m pretty sure everyone interested was able to participate to some of the trips. From ONU we had tree groups – one to Sumter, SC (31 people), one to Jackson, MS (50 people) and one to Davidson, NC (30 people).


2,9mm, f/2, 1/2935, ISO 100 (phone camera, Huawei Ascend G620)

Our bus, one of billion ONU vehicles. 😀

Our trip began with about 13 hours drive from Ada, OH to Sumter, SC. And yes, non-Americans, this country is HUGE. Even though the distance between these states seems relative short compered to size of whole country it is actually about 620 miles (depends on route you choose 600-700miles) that’s about 1000 kilometers (btw Finland from north to south is about 720miles = 1160kilometers). We had a bus for people and a van for our stuff.


2,9mm, f/2, 1/235, ISO 100 (phone camera, Huawei Ascend G620)

The house when we arrived on Monday morning

During the drive we changed van drivers (students that were van certified were allowed to drive) and had bathroom / snack break in about every three hours. We stopped once for bigger meal. Food was something you could find by the road – McDonalds, Subway, etc. It was crazy how few things there actually are by the highway. And it was cool how different weather can be in different parts of same country. When we left Ohio there was about 20 degrees (-5-10 in Celsius) and there was a snowstorm coming. In Sumter there was no snow and temperature varied between about 40 to 80 degrees (about 10-20 Celsius).


21mm, f/9, 1/250, ISO 100

Working last day, looks like a house!

In Sumter we worked everyday from about 8 to noon and had a lunch at the worksite around noon. After that we carried on working until 3 to 4pm. After that we drove to local YMCA for shower. Then we either drove back to our housing (one of local churches) or had some kind of program. Around 6 to 7 we had lunch everyday in different place. We paid 160USD for the trip – that included everything but one dinner and food we had during travelling. In my opinion that was very small price compared to great food we got everyday. Of course, in southern USA it’s stuff like deep fried chicken, pizza, mac&cheese, etc. but they were good versions of those American classics.


2,9mm, f/2,4, 1/535, ISO 100 (phone camera, Huawei Ascend G620)

Selfie from the top of 8ft ladder

For breakfasts and snack in housing we all brought something to eat like pretzels, cereal or fruit snacks (btw American fruit snack is not fresh fruit… I brought apples as a fruit snack and everyone else brought some candy like sweet things called fruit snacks, haha!). Our group leaders also bought us things like bananas, milk, yoghurts, etc. when we arrived to Sumter. And after every meal we usually got leftover cookies, cakes and other things.


44mm, f/18, 1/400, ISO 400 (blurry background made with Photoshop)

One of us working with one of our great supervisors. Bob you’re awesome! This is real action photo – the smiles are not for my picture, we really had fun while working! 🙂

Because I (again) feel like I’ll write you a book length post I think I’ll cover my trip experience in couple posts. I’ll write next ones during next ten days. Stay tuned!

Part 1 / General info & purpose of the trip

Part 2 / Photos from construction site

Part 3 / Spare time & more photos

+ maybe more photos 😀

Ps. Sometimes really small things make me smile. While writing this post I accidently wrote sparetime instead of spare time – my computer wanted to correct my typing to “spa retime”. Habitat spa retime? Sounds great! 😀

Pps. More information of Habitat can be found from their official website: http://www.habitat.org/ . This post is based on my best knowledge and experience, if you find any errors please leave a comment or email me so I can correct the information. Thank you and nice trips! 🙂

Pps. On Monday after break we had deep fried chicken in university’s dining hall. I wasn’t sure should I cry or laugh. Haha. 😀


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