Benjamin Thurston fundraising for Malawi - '19 Stearney Team

Benjamin Thurston

Fundraising for:
Malawi - '19 Stearney Team
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$3,729

Raised (USD)

Days Left: 0
Goal: $2,149

From Benjamin Thurston

I'm raising money to help build housing for orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi. Personally, I'm doing this to break out of my comfort zone from the normal day to day, to fin

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Update #3

1 day ago

Well... I did it! I went to Malawi and helped build a house for Grace and her 5 children. While the experience was unforgettable and insurmountable, I've been back for 3 weeks now and have struggled to process what I experienced. It is hard to put into words because the difference between our worlds is enormous. We have such a hectic / stressful life in many ways yet they take their time, smile, laugh, play and are grateful for the little they have. The children would greet us everyday with smiles and laughter, we felt like super heroes driving into the village each morning with the warm welcome they gave us. Everyone smiled, all the time. It was so refreshing and uplifting to be around such grateful, happy people. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, that was my main goal of this, to find another purpose in life. I found it. It smacked me in the face and is in me now. The affect the people in the village had on me is now a part of me, and I am forever grateful. There were times I felt divided from the people in the villages, like the habitat group being divided by construction tape during lunch breaks for example. On the 3rd build day I recognized this sense of division, although unintentional, I realized we were eating our meals apart. I gained the courage to cross over the tape and sit down on the ground with the family we were building for and their sisters and brothers. They seemed a little shocked, but 45 minutes later we learned a lot from each other and were laughing. I told them how a typical New Yorker walks with their head down and never smiles, I did an impression of that New Yorker and they were dying of laughter, especially because I looked funny walking with my walking boot from having ruptured my achilles months ago. I especially became close with Lawrent, one of the brothers of Grace. He had such a genuine curiosity about America, our lifestyle and what it was like. At one point while waiting for the rain to pass he asked, "why do the children stay inside in America?". I basically said that I didn't know, it was a good question. I also found it interesting that he had never heard of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, or pizza. I also connected with the children during our lunch breaks, especially one little girl named Fatima, she would follow me around and we would play football, soccer, and dance together. She had such an amazing spirit and joy about her. We had our own special wave to each other by the 3rd day. After building the house, It felt great, but there was also a sense that we barely tapped the surface of the problems in Malawi. So many other families are in need of a house like this and it felt like what we did was a drop in the bucket. This has motivated me to raise awareness and do more. After doing this I feel like anybody could, and I encourage you to do the same. The need for more houses is vast and they need people to help. I can assure anyone who helps will never regret the experience, in fact you might get addicted, and it's probably one of the best things you could ever be addicted to. I thank everyone who made it possible for me to experience this, I truly could not have accomplished this without you. Thank you all so much! After the 4th building day I knew I got what I came for and was extremely grateful. I'll leave you with what I wrote in my journal after the 4th build day, thank you all again for your support, the work we did help changed lives including my own.

~I'm sitting by Lake Malawi right now, under the clouds and the stars with the wind blowing, swirling all around, I feel alive. Invigorated. Grateful. Full of life and love to give. I'm in the present moment. Not worried about the future, not worried about the past. It's going to be good. Not ok. Good. I'm going to be better, more aware of how I act, and mindful towards others. I will make a difference in others lives and I will show others how to do the same. I will be a quiet leader, planting seeds of joy and happiness. They will grow to something bigger. What that is exactly I'm not yet sure, but I'm excited to see. A seed has been planted in me. It was planted from many people that have influenced me through my life and now I can start planting seeds for others to grow.~

About Me

Hi, my name is Benjamin Thurston. I am an assistant service manager for Jim Coleman Toyota. I enjoy working with people everyday, helping them to understand how to get their cars fixed. While I get fulfillment from problem solving with people, I've come to realize I want to serve in more meaningful ways, too. I am hoping that in joining this team I can make a real difference in the world, while finding a deeper fulfillment in my own life. I look foward to discovering what is next!

More Info

Malawi is a country of immense beauty — and extreme poverty. It is one of the least developed countries in the world. The economy is predominately agricultural and is dependent on substantial international assistance.

Seventy-five percent of the population lives on less than US$2 a day. Because of the widespread poverty, four out of five families live in substandard homes, with little hope of ever being able to afford a decent house. A typical village hut is built of mud and daub with a dirt floor and thatched roof. The conditions put families at high risk of disease.

Habitat for Humanity Malawi, established in 1986, constructs houses of burnt clay bricks, concrete floors and tile roofs. More than 5,000 houses have been built so far. By providing improved housing to families, Habitat Malawi has enhanced lives and reduced the occurrence of malaria, respiratory illnesses and intestinal parasites.

Global Village is Habitat for Humanity’s international volunteer program. Teams travel to over 40 countries to work alongside communities, build housing solutions, and experience local culture. Our goal is to change the lives of the people we serve, as well as the lives of the volunteers.

To join a team or learn more, visit www.habitat.org/gv.

About Habitat for Humanity International 

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

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Benjamin Thurston posted a new update:
1 day ago

Update #3

Well... I did it! I went to Malawi and helped build a house for Grace and her 5 children. While the experience was unforgettable and insurmountable, I've been back for 3 weeks now and have struggled to process what I experienced. It is hard to put into words because the difference between our worlds is enormous. We have such a hectic / stressful life in many ways yet they take their time, smile, laugh, play and are grateful for the little they have. The children would greet us everyday with smiles and laughter, we felt like super heroes driving into the village each morning with the warm welcome they gave us. Everyone smiled, all the time. It was so refreshing and uplifting to be around such grateful, happy people. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, that was my main goal of this, to find another purpose in life. I found it. It smacked me in the face and is in me now. The affect the people in the village had on me is now a part of me, and I am forever grateful. There were times I felt divided from the people in the villages, like the habitat group being divided by construction tape during lunch breaks for example. On the 3rd build day I recognized this sense of division, although unintentional, I realized we were eating our meals apart. I gained the courage to cross over the tape and sit down on the ground with the family we were building for and their sisters and brothers. They seemed a little shocked, but 45 minutes later we learned a lot from each other and were laughing. I told them how a typical New Yorker walks with their head down and never smiles, I did an impression of that New Yorker and they were dying of laughter, especially because I looked funny walking with my walking boot from having ruptured my achilles months ago. I especially became close with Lawrent, one of the brothers of Grace. He had such a genuine curiosity about America, our lifestyle and what it was like. At one point while waiting for the rain to pass he asked, "why do the children stay inside in America?". I basically said that I didn't know, it was a good question. I also found it interesting that he had never heard of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, or pizza. I also connected with the children during our lunch breaks, especially one little girl named Fatima, she would follow me around and we would play football, soccer, and dance together. She had such an amazing spirit and joy about her. We had our own special wave to each other by the 3rd day. After building the house, It felt great, but there was also a sense that we barely tapped the surface of the problems in Malawi. So many other families are in need of a house like this and it felt like what we did was a drop in the bucket. This has motivated me to raise awareness and do more. After doing this I feel like anybody could, and I encourage you to do the same. The need for more houses is vast and they need people to help. I can assure anyone who helps will never regret the experience, in fact you might get addicted, and it's probably one of the best things you could ever be addicted to. I thank everyone who made it possible for me to experience this, I truly could not have accomplished this without you. Thank you all so much! After the 4th building day I knew I got what I came for and was extremely grateful. I'll leave you with what I wrote in my journal after the 4th build day, thank you all again for your support, the work we did help changed lives including my own.

~I'm sitting by Lake Malawi right now, under the clouds and the stars with the wind blowing, swirling all around, I feel alive. Invigorated. Grateful. Full of life and love to give. I'm in the present moment. Not worried about the future, not worried about the past. It's going to be good. Not ok. Good. I'm going to be better, more aware of how I act, and mindful towards others. I will make a difference in others lives and I will show others how to do the same. I will be a quiet leader, planting seeds of joy and happiness. They will grow to something bigger. What that is exactly I'm not yet sure, but I'm excited to see. A seed has been planted in me. It was planted from many people that have influenced me through my life and now I can start planting seeds for others to grow.~

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Benjamin Thurston posted a new update:
about 1 month ago

Update #2

Hey everyone,

Thank you all so much for the overwhelming support. Many of you given very generous donations to this project, but more so the advice and encouragement I've received has been amazing. I've had a few setbacks in recovering from my ruptured Achilles, but it is really feeling a lot better and I recently started walking on my own with no assistance! Marie K. (a customer/friend) caught me a few weeks ago on a down day after having a setback with my Achilles being stretched too far, she inspired me by saying that maybe this injuring is supposed to be a way for me to relate to others in need better and in turn have more of an impact on the trip. This perspective really changed my mindset in a positive way, it helped me to stop feeling sorry for myself. Thank you Marie. And thank all of you who have encouraged me and shared knowledge about similar trips. I'm very excited to serve on behalf of all of you. I'm leaving tomorrow!

Thanks again everyone,

Ben Thurston

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Benjamin Thurston posted a new update:
3 months ago

Update #1

Thank you all so much for your support! I reached my goal! I'm very excited to represent on behalf of all of you. I unfortunately ruptured my Achilles tendon playing basketball last week, so I'm working hard to recover in time for the trip. The doctor says I should be able to walk just in time for the trip, please pray I do not have any setbacks and will be able to heal in time. Thanks again for all the support! I appreciate everyone so much.

Thank you all,

Benjamin

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