September 5, 2017
"The weather was unpredictable; we did not care. Our goal was clear," said inside sales rep Elzbieta Stankiewicz. "We really wanted to help that lovely family."
That family is the Bokrzyckis of Wierzbice, Poland: Jerzy and Maciejka and their four foster children, three of whom are mobility impaired, and two big dogs. Their old house needed renovating and adapting to a higher standard, including wheelchair-accessible paved paths.
The work was divided into four main activities:
- Fence painting
- Pavement installing
- Wall demolishing and scrapping
- Attic insulation installing
On the fence
"During the rain, many of us on the Dream (Fence) Team put on oversized yellow raincoats," Stankiewicz said. "I am sure Yellow Team looked hilarious, but we all had a lot of fun and could not stop laughing."
"At first there was a need of digging to get rid of some wild berries growing right up the fence. Not a piece of cake," she said. "But working with my team was just a pleasure."
"Our collective work brought not only construction results but also new friendships," said Dorota Ropicka, IT project manager. "We told each other stories, and I learned that the colleague who worked next to me studied at the same school."
A garden path
The wheelchair-bound children needed a navigable path to the garden.
"My day started by using the shovel to carry sand and gravel for the basis of the pathway," said Joao Rosa, quality assurance analyst.
"That required us to distribute from the back garden to the path trench 10 cm of stones and indurate them," said Marek Goluchowski, Cloud Services team lead. "Later we mixed cement and set up concrete curbs."
"We didn't finish because the path was really long. However, our coordinator said we did more than he expected," Goluchowski added. "Each of the volunteers gave maximum effort. Each of us had our own rhythm. We all spent really nice time together, and running a really interesting conversation."
After manning the path compactor outside for a while ("It was a great fun riding this thing!"), Piotr Szybilski, Infor SunSystems product support analyst, went inside "to discover what they were doing there. I found out that one wall needed to be demolished. I began the process of destroying the wall but, apparently, it was such great fun that this job was taken over by others who had a burning desire to destroy something. I handed over the sledgehammer, and went for the real hard job of scrapping old paint off a wall."
Hanna Ewa Witek, cloud consultant associate who also helped organize this build, liked being able to see "the tangible, immediate results of demolishing the partition wall and scraping the walls of layers of old paint."
"It did not happen without the 'loss of people,' " she said. "While dismantling the wall's metal structure, unfortunately, I grabbed it at the point where a nail was protruding. My cut-and-bleeding finger was bandaged quickly, however, so it was not so bad, and I got back to work fast. I only regret that the build lasted so short."
A song of thanks
"At the end of the day, the whole the family played a song for all of us, as a way to say 'thank you,' " Rosa said.
"It was the best part of the day," said Natalia Pyka, software engineer.
Product support analyst Wojciech Kielesi?ski added, "I think, for all the participants, the chorus of the song the family sang remains in our hearts: 'You have as much as you give.' It is a good idea for the whole of life."
View photos on Habitat for Humanity Poland's Facebook page.
View more photos.