Have you ever wondered what it would be like to build in another country with Habitat for Humanity? Many of us love the idea but when we look at finances, schedules and well, our anxieties, the reality of such a trip gets pushed further and further to the back burner until its no longer on the stove.
Associate Director, Amy Ristow, is one of us in that exact way; she leads an incredibly busy life with Habitat for Humanity, serving on committees as an active member of Mid-Day Women’s Alliance, loving on her children and grandchild and all the other things that life throws at her. For years she’s dreamed of doing a trip but it was never ‘the right time’. But something changed one night as she was enjoying a glass of wine with her daughter, Julie.
Amy is opening up her experience, fears and accomplishments with us as she jets off to her first Global Village trip to Macedonia next month. Follow along as she shares about herself and this exciting journey.
My name is Amy Ristow and I’ve been employed with Habitat for Humanity for 11 years. I’ve never, however, been on a Global Village trip but always planned to in the future. One of my daughters, Julie, was the catalyst for going on a Global Village trip to Macedonia. Julie was just finishing up many, many years of schooling (to be a pharmacist), and was living with me for a couple of months this winter while doing a rotation near the Fox Cities. After a couple glasses of wine, we decided that THIS would be the year to volunteer abroad, and Julie was going to go with me! This is a perfect time because there is a short window of time between when she graduates and when she starts her first “real” job as a pharmacist.
Vaya Kiel (our Communications Specialist) at Fox Cities Habitat, gave me some great advice about choosing a trip. Having taken her first trip in 2015 to tithe partner Guatemala, she said having great leaders makes a big difference in the experience, and she recommended that we take a trip with Chuck and Terri Gafford. They are volunteers on our Senior Crew – very well respected and great, great people. Their trip was to Macedonia, so we chose to go to Macedonia!
I didn’t even know where Macedonia was on the map, so there was a lot of research to be done. The more I read about the need for affordable housing in Macedonia, the people who live there and their rich history, the more excited I am about our trip.
I’m a little nervous now, as the trip is less than 3 weeks away. But we’ll be ready to go once June 9th is here! I look forward to a very humbling and emotional experience, because of what I’ve heard from others who have gone on a Global Village trip. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I’m sure it will be life-changing.
And, I get to experience this great adventure with one of my daughters – that’s the icing on the cake!
Amy serves as the Associate Director for Greater Fox Cities Area Habitat for Humanity and spends a dedicated amount of her schedule supporting Habitat ReStore operations. Family is the most important priority in her life, followed closely by wine, cooking, home improvement projects and yoga.