By TAYLOR HARTZ
Next month, Town Councilor Tom Lombardi will board a plane bound for Nicaragua.
Working with a team from Habitat for Humanity, Lombardi and two other 2004 graduates of Southington High School, Matt Lopes and Bill Ryan, will be traveling to the town of Masachapa. When they arrive, they will spend seven days building cinder block and concrete homes that measure 20 feet by 20 feet.
“The poverty in Nicaragua is something that many of us could not imagine,” said Lombardi, who reached out to the community to help him achieve his $2,000 fundraising goal.
“Many of us here own sheds or garages that are larger than these houses,” said the Councilor, but the houses “provide a safe area for families and are rated to withstand natural disasters.”
The houses will be an improvement from the makeshift sheet metal and dirt floor shelters where many currently live.
Lombardi first traveled to Nicaragua in Feb. of 2014, where he built two family homes in one week. “It was a great opportunity to practice speaking Spanish, see a new country, and help people all at the same time,” he said.
On his first trip, Lombardi said he found it extremely rewarding to work alongside the families, as they helped with the construction of their homes. He said their happiness and family values inspired him and caused him to be thankful for all he has here in Southington.
“Although the days of labor are very difficult, working in the sun in 95-degree heat, it is still a fun trip after the work is done,” said Lombardi, who will travel to the country a few days earlier to explore San Juan Del Sur.
The Councilor hopes the volunteer work can provide a safe living space for the families and bring a positive reflection of American culture.
Just a few weeks away from his departure, Lombardi has reached 60-percent of his fundraising goal.
Any funds raised are used for his lodging during the 7-day build, meals during the work-week, and for purchasing the construction materials used for the homes.
To donate, visit https://share.habitat.org/tom-lombardi-gv16121