Travel Diary
 
December 8, 2002
Americus, GA


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Americus is a town of around 15,000 people in southern Georgia. You're probably wondering why we ended up here. Let's start back in 1942.

There's a place near Americus called Koinonia (a Greek word from the New Testament that means "community" or "fellowship"). It is a Christian organization with a mission of being a "demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God" as described by their founder Clarence Jordan in 1942. To fund their community they work a farm and produce wonderful pecan products and organic produce, among other things. We visited them and saw the pecan groves, and can personally attest to the delicious milk chocolate pecan bark, and the party mix.

A man named Millard Fuller came to Koinonia, and after spending a bit of time and meeting Clarence Jordan he found the inspiration to start Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI) in 1976. We took a tour at HFHI and learned that the basic mission is to eliminate sub-standard housing worldwide. Habitat affiliates in the US and around the world work to match applicants up with new houses that are built by volunteers.

Here's a picture of the main HFHI building in Americus.

Habitat for Humanity International

Pete's sister's family (the Bakers) moved to Americus so Steve could take a job with HFHI's web services team. So, we're in Americus to visit with the Bakers.

You may know of a local Habitat affiliate near you where you can volunteer to help build houses for people in need. Pete went with Steve one day to volunteer at a build being done by the local Sumter County, GA affiliate. They call it the Christmas house, as it is scheduled to be done so the family can celebrate Christmas in their new house. Even though it was a cold day, we had a good time, and it felt good helping out. Here's a picture of Steve with the concrete form for the back step that he built.

Steve building the Christmas house

If Koinonia and Habitat weren't enough to inspire a person visiting Americus, there's even more. Americus is about 10 miles from Plains. Plains is home to former President Jimmy Carter. He was born in Plains and still lives here. We visited his high school, which is now a visitor's center. It was decorated with hundreds of congratulatory cards from school children around Georgia who were wishing him well on his winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It's a fun time to be here because he accepts the award on December 10. Here's a picture of the visitor's center:

The former Plains High School

We ended our week with a couple of fun activities with the Bakers. First, was their annual Christmas tree hunt. We went to a local tree farm and helped them select a tree. Here are Gregory and Katherine with this year's tree:

Katherine and Gregory carrying the tree

Finally, we got a chance to go golfing with Steve and Gregory. We did our best to keep up with Gregory, who at 9 years old makes golf look really easy.

Gregory golfing

We'll be in Americus for a few more days, and then we're headed to Florida.

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