Women working wonders

ELEELE — Shana Cruz was ecstatic beyond words Saturday as a team of about 25 women scurried about all corners of her future home in the Kauai Habitat for Humanity Eleele Iluna neighborhood under a threatening sky which periodically leaked its contents.

“Somebody pinch me,” Cruz said. “Everyone has put in so much into this home. We just got through with a Habitat for Humanity Global Village putting in some work, and today, we have all these women from the national Women Build working to put on two coats of paint on the outside of the home.”

Cruz said the drywall is in, some of the appliances have come in, and all that remains is the intricate hardware — plus going through the closing process.

David Bieker, the Kauai Habitat for Humanity development coordinator, said Women Build is a Habitat for Humanity International program that encourages women to make a difference by building homes and communities.

Women Build provides an environment in which women can feel comfortable learning skills they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn.

“We have ladies here from the Zonta Club of Hanalei,” said Deb Valentina. “They’re working really fast, and it looks like we might be finished ahead of time. Some of the ladies will be back during the week as realtors when the Board of Realtors come out to paint the house they sponsored.”

Bieker said the Saturday Women Build was the biggest event scheduled for Kauai.

“We have two groups coming out during the week, including the Board of Realtors,” Bieker said. “The other group comes in toward the end of the week.”

Marian Eguchi was one of the volunteers who came out Saturday, the event bringing back memories of the Women Build event which helped her complete her home in Kekaha. She was joined by Valerie Wise, a former Kauai Habitat for Humanity staff member.

“Marian’s daughter is well on her way as a student at the University of Hawaii- Hilo,” Wise said. “We come back to help because we’ve done this before, and it brings back good memories.”

Tracy Davidson of Tracy’s Maps, now in its seventh edition, said she always wanted to come and volunteer.

“I’ve always wanted to do this,” said Davidson, also a Realtor and real estate broker. “I talked with my good friend Vilija Payne, a drafts person and designer, and we both came and did some work for a few hours.”

Tessa Belardo said she’s volunteered with Habitat in another state and came out after seeing the notice on the Kauai Habitat website.

Cruz said watching her house near completion is like coming full circle.

“It’s all about giving back,” she said. “You get what you give.”


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