This week, Creators of Hope looks at how building homes for Jamaica’s rural poor improves the public health of the country as a whole.
When we think about what home provides for us, one of the things we think about immediately is the sense of physical safety we experience when we have a place of our own. When you step into your house at the end of a long workday, do you notice yourself relaxing right away?
Think about how necessary it is to be able to relax that way, and how beneficial it is for your body. Now, on the other hand, think about how exhausting it would be if you couldn’t get that kind of peace and quiet at the end of each long day. Think about how your body would react. Stress weakens the immune system so that illnesses can’t be fought off effectively. By building homes for Jamaica’s vulnerable people, and giving them relief from constant physical and emotional stress, we’re combating the effects of that stress on people’s bodies, and helping support their health.
Home is also the place where you can control your environment. You can keep your home clean and dry and maintain the temperature where it’s comfortable for you. You can take shelter from bad weather, so that you aren’t exposed to the elements. If you’re not feeling well, you can limit your exposure to other people, so that you don’t spread your germs or pick up new ones while your body is weak. Minor illnesses stay minor when you can take good care of yourself.
In all of those ways, your home is an essential resource when it comes to maintaining your own physical health. Now imagine if you couldn’t take shelter from wet or cold weather, and the effects that would have on your body. Think about what could happen if you had something as minor as a typical cold, but you couldn’t take care of yourself, rest in a comfortable place, or keep your environment dry and clean and safe. Think about how quickly, under those circumstances, your minor cold could get much worse. Think, too, about how quickly sickness could pass from person to person, in a group where everyone was worn out, stressed, and exposed to tough environmental conditions.
We at Creators of Hope know how important home is to keeping people healthy. We believe strongly in the value of helping people to improve their circumstances and build better lives, both for themselves and for their communities as a whole. Find out how you can help us, and visit the blog again next week to learn more about how building homes changes a country’s future.
Take a minute and think about your favorite place in your home. If you happen to be reading this at home, go to that favorite place and look around.
What’s your “sanctum sanctorum,” your best refuge? If you’re a writer, maybe it’s your office, with your trusty writing desk. (My desk is a secretary, old wood with a dark varnish, and it has all those cubbyholes that are so satisfying to look at even though they fill up so fast.) Or maybe your favorite place is your kitchen, with racks of spices neatly arranged, and gleaming pots and pans ready to be called into use for the next family meal. Or maybe it’s your den, with the recliner you can adjust to exactly the right angle, or the couch that knows your angles and curves, and the TV set up with all your favorite shows.
Put yourself in that place. Do it literally if you can. Think about what you enjoy when you’re there: the rhythm of cutting up veggies for soup, or the way your computer keys tap and click under your fingers when inspiration hits, or the way your favorite movie makes you laugh. Think especially about how it feels to go to that place after a long day, or after something has stressed you out, or if you’ve gotten tough news. In your refuge, you can rest and find comfort again.
Now take a minute and imagine something more difficult. Imagine if your favorite place wasn’t there.
What would it be like if you had to go from one day, to the next, to the next, with no place where you felt safe? No matter how much you needed to, you wouldn’t be able to hole up and rest, forget the world for a while. You’d always have one eye open, or both eyes, watching for danger, worrying about what might happen next to you or your family.
Exhausting, right? All of us get tired, but not many of us know what it’s like to get as tired as that. Imagine how it would feel. Imagine how badly you would want to change things, for yourself and your family, and how tough it would be if you knew you couldn’t.
Jamaica’s rural poor face this reality all the time. Creators of Hope wants to change this for them.
Creators of Hope is founded on the belief that every family deserves a safe place to call their own, and that building homes changes lives both for individual families and for the whole community. Learn more about our mission, get involved, and explore the way our group is changing the world for Jamaica’s people.
#GivingTuesday is coming on November 28. Consider supporting Creators of Hope on this international day of giving back!