Our last full day of camp has been spent thinking about the right all human beings have to decent housing. We could not be in a better place to explore that right. Koinonia Farm, the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity, has a long history of partnering with people in need of stable, safe homes. Campers considered the many benefits besides mere shelter that such homes provide: fewer mental and physical stressors, better chance for consistent education for the children, and tighter ties with the community, for example.
What makes a house decent? What makes it safe? We thought about all the different characteristics and features a house might have, and the campers determined which of those were the most important to them. Asked to choose their top three from a list of ten, they came up with results that reflect the priorities and concerns of their generation. “Internet access” tied with “safe neighborhood” for second place, beat only by “heating and air conditioning.” A distant third was indoor plumbing, and no one opted for a having an indoor kitchen if it meant living with a dirt floor.
A field trip to Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village and Discovery Center gave the campers more food for thought. After an introductory video describing Habitat’s work, they toured the model slum neighborhood that introduces visitors to the living conditions that too many of the world’s people endure. Exiting the slum, they visited a number of houses similar to the ones built by Habitat volunteers in various countries of the world. In each house, the campers were able to stamp their “passports,” see the country’s flag, and note what was unique about each house’s design.
Back at Koinonia, we built on the passport theme by looking at the expired passports of peacemakers of many different professions who travel extensively in their work to expand access to human rights. Campers deciphered the stamps in the back of the passports and located the countries on world maps. We talked about the jobs that the passport holders do and the skills and talents they need to do those jobs.
Later in the afternoon, we focused on the campers’ own talents and skills. They affirmed the talents they see in each other through talent posters that they created, and they shared their own talents in a high-energy talent show. Tomorrow, campers will keep these talents in mind as they set goals for peacemaking in their neighborhoods, communities, and world. Stay tuned!