Three AEP volunteers build Habitat homes, community in Mexico
Special to AEP Now
By: Ken Drenten
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Dale Krummen talks with a boy whose home is being built by a Habitat for Humanity team in Amecameca, Mexico.
Photo By: Scott Moore
Three AEP Transmission employees, Scott Moore, Dale Krummen and Tony Smith, recently returned from Amecameca, Mexico, where they spent two weeks helping to build houses and community with Habitat for Humanity.
The three are volunteers with the Habitat for Humanity Greater Columbus Affiliate, which sponsored the Global Village team. HFH—GC will be sponsoring its third Global Village Team this July to Guatemala.
For Moore, vice president-Transmission Operations, this was his second trip abroad in as many years as a Habitat volunteer; he traveled last year to Ghana, Africa. As in Moore´s previous trip, AEP employees donated much in the way of financial support.
The three AEP employees worked as part of a six-man, five-woman team to build two brick houses in the town, in a volcanic highland region about 50 miles southeast of Mexico City. "We were replacing some houses that were in pretty poor condition, made of wood and adobe," Moore said. "The kids slept in hammocks in the one-room shack the family lived in."
The new two-bedroom houses will each have a kitchen, living room, and a small bathroom.
Among the challenges the team faced was working with brick -- none had extensive experience in bricklaying, but they succeeded in nearly completing one home and getting a good start on the other. The group also installed bathroom plumbing, did electrical wiring, and worked on walls and floors. "We didn´t get either house completely finished, but it will probably take another team two weeks to finish," Moore said.
Scott Moore finishes a doorway in a new Habitat home in Amecameca, Mexico.
Photo by: Frank Martens
"The team bonded together really well. We had some good times of friendship and we enjoyed wonderful home-cooked meals -- real authentic Mexican food -- with the family," Moore said.
Krummen, staff engineer, Transmission Protection & Measurement Engineering, Standards & Maintenance Management, provided the majority of translation for the team members who did not speak Spanish. It was his first trip out of the country with Habitat.
"It was a very good cross-cultural experience, and we gained many friends, both in the community and within our the team," Krummen said. "It´s good to see first hand the value that an organization like Habitat can provide. There was plenty of work to do."
For Smith, analyst II, Transmission Settlements, the experience was hard work -- particularly due to the mountainous elevation -- but it was worth the effort.
"This was the fulfillment of a long-held dream I´ve had to be able to make a difference to people in a different culture," Smith said. "I grew up in Jamaica, and some of the teachers I had as a student there were Peace Corps volunteers. I´ve always wanted to do something like that for someone else. Now I´ve had the chance to do something to give back to others, and I´m looking forward to the next trip."
Tony Smith lays another course of bricks.
Photo by: Scott Moore