Enma Perez-Defranc learned of the Revelstoke Habitat for Humanity project at the recruitment booth at the Revelstoke Rod & Gun Club banquet earlier this year.
We met for an interview standing at the Home for the Hunts construction project on Sixth Street East. We’re standing amid the off-cuts of construction debris, next to the framed-up home. Two volunteer construction workers are unloading a Black Tie Properties bobcat. They’re stained in purple from coloured spray foam insulation. A volunteer loans me a hardhat.
For the new Revelstoke resident, the Home for the Hunts project was a natural fit. Back in her native Ecuador, Perez-Defranc volunteered with TECHO, a Latin America-based youth organization that builds traditional housing for impoverished people and helps engineer social inclusion programs around the housing projects.
Volunteering for TECHO arose from her professional training as a design architect; she graduated from the Universidad de Especialidades Espiritu Santo in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
“As an architect, we are part of the society and we have to create a better society,” Perez-Defranc explains.
For two years in Ecuador, she helped build very small homes, and helped implement micro-economic programs, such as market-based agriculture, or skills programs. The goal was to provide a hand up for the extremely impoverished.
“I learned a lot as a human being because giving is the best gift that a human has,” Perez-Defranc said. “For me, it was a great experience. It made me grow up as a human.”
She came to Revelstoke to be with a partner. Her plan is to go back to school so she can transfer her credentials as a professional architect and work here.
She’s inspired by the works of rock-star Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
For now, she works as a cashier at Your Dollar Store With More and builds her plans.
As she moves forward, Perez-Defranc is guided by her past volunteer experience, and her continuing volunteer work here.
It’s about connecting with the community, being a part of it, and finding joy there. “[It’s] the love that the people bring here. They do it unselfishly. A lot of people have their own business and they come here for free and lose a day,” she noted.
If you’re interested in experiencing the spirit of giving back, the Home for the Hunts project is still seeking volunteers to work on the site. Build days are Friday and Saturday.
Organizer Cindy Pearce encourages anyone interested to check out the project website at homeforthehunts.com. Financial donations are still being accepted and will help get the new home completed this year.
The Home for the Hunts project is building a new, accessible home for the Hunt family to assist mom Pauline Hunt, who has ALS, a progressive and debilitating illness.