A pair of Lincoln Memorial University soccer players returned from Europe last week after spending two weeks helping to build homes for deserving families across the globe. Sarah Taylor and Peter Fraser, a pair of Ontario, Canada natives, spent 10 days in Beius, Romania working with Habitat for Humanity.
The pair’s involvement in the international cause can be traced back to Taylor’s elementary school days when she was in teacher Kim Penzhorn’s class. Penzhorn is a team leader in Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program. She has traveled to Beius three times and the trip Taylor and Fraser joined her on was her second expedition in 2011.
Nine other Canadians joined Taylor, Fraser and Penzhorn on their journey. For many of them it was their first trip to Romania and most of the group had never met before the trip. That was not the case for Taylor and Fraser, who are rising seniors, as both play for LMU Soccer Coach Helio D’Anna and have been classmates at LMU for three years.
Romania became the 50th Habitat for Humanity country in 1996. Beius was the first community in which Habitat was invited to help in Romania. Six other communities, including Cluj-Napoca (Cluj), Pitesti, Radauti, Comanesti, Cumpana and Craiova have since taken up the challenge of ending poverty housing as part of Habitat. According to Habitat, more than 1,200 families in Romania—that previously lived in miserable conditions—now have a safe and healthy home.
Beius is a small town of 12,000 inhabitants located in the northwest of Romania’s Bihor county, near the Romanian-Hungarian border. The town is located in a beautiful valley with many villages surrounded by wonderful mountains. Beius has a rural feel—it would not be surprising, for example, to see a wagon with horses crossing through the town. Since the first Habitat home was built (in 1996), 100 families have been afforded safe shelter. Habitat in Beius offers a hand-up, not a hand out. Partner families pay back the home mortgage over 20 years at no interest and invest 1,000 hours of sweat equity labor on other Habitat homes.
Taylor and Fraser spent the first part of their trip insulating and installing drywall in one home and laying a foundation for another in nearby Oradea.
Back in Beius for the second half of the trip, the team joined future Habitat homeowners in preparing another foundation and finished some homes that were nearing competition. During the weekend they visited the Bears Caves in Chiscau, a wooden church in Bardet and other attractions in the Beius area.
Taylor was the Lady Railsplitter’s points leader a year ago. An All-Region selection, she looks to build on her 10 goal and 11 assist tallies in her senior year. Fraser’s career has been hampered by injury; nevertheless, he is expected to be a key contributor for the Railsplitters at mid-field and on defense.