TOWNSEND — Nearly eight months ago, the first shovels full of dirt were lifted out of the ground in an empty lot on Apple Drive.
Now, the lot is no longer empty; a house stands there, all but finished. Only minor details remain, but the project is nearing the finish line and a family in need can just about say they have a home of their own, a dream realized and blessed through the efforts of many in support of Habitat for Humanity.
The Boboci family, immigrants to the United States from Albania more than nine years ago, was selected by Habitat for Humanity to receive the finished house and they helped in its construction. On Sunday, June 22, Ndricim and Teuta Boboci welcomed many of those who had worked on the project, even in its earliest stages, inside the completed home. The gathering was highlighted by a ceremonial blessing conducted by Rev. Mark Seifried of the Townsend Congregational Church.
The crowd was small but spread out in the main room of the house, just inside the front door, forming a circle around Seifried as he led them in prayer. He invoked divine protection and guidance, giving thanks for the series of events and the kind hearts of so many people who made this dream possible.
They thanked the town for granting the land, the office workers who pursued and completed all the necessary paperwork and those who donated their time, sweat, supplies or funds to help complete the house.
“We make justice and peace our goal,” Seifried said of the Habitat effort and those who supported it.
Nearly a decade ago, between 1999 and 2001, the Townsend Congregational Church set aside $20,000 for an outreach project. This became the foundation for the eventual Habitat project, but was only a fraction of the $120,000 cost to build the house once the project was selected. Fund-raisers were held and multiple in-kind donations accepted, but it could not move forward without a little more financial assistance.
When a pair of newlyweds — Thomas and Bethany Dionne — agreed to change their donation to Habitat for Humanity from a house in Acton that did not need the money to the Townsend site, it gave the project the green light.
At the groundbreaking earlier in the year, Ndricim — nicknamed “Jimmy” — said being selected for the house was the second blessing his family had received in their lifetime; winning the lottery in Albania that allowed them to move to America was the first. The joy on the faces of Jimmy and his wife as they welcomed their friends to their new home was clearly visible. He was smiling ear-to-ear as he opened a present from one of the project’s main spearheads, Melanie Ouellette.
It was another blessing — a framed “Bless this House” prayer — to be hung on the wall of the house, a constant invocation for good tidings. She joked with Jimmy as he opened it, pointing out the orange ribbon and adding that she knew it was his favorite color.
The room shared a laugh as Don, Melanie’s husband, added that the Bobocis had wanted orange siding, but they were unable to find it.
Jimmy and Teuta read the final prayer aloud, at the end of the ceremony, then began to show people around. It marked the end of an odyssey that began many years ago for the Bobocis and those who made their dream possible.