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December 2010

A different kind of homecoming

If passion, enthusiasm and caring make a house a home, then the Ibnaoufs are well on their way.

In April, the Sudanese family will be the proud owners of a four bedroom, 1,550-square-foot Habitat for Humanity home built by the UNCG community. Well·Spring retirement community is providing funding.

Santa isn't the only person on snowy roofs in December. Members of Staff Senate and homeowner Beshir Ibnaouf (brown jacket) nail down shingles.

Santa isn't the only person on snowy roofs in December. Members of Staff Senate and homeowner Beshir Ibnaouf (brown jacket) nail down shingles.

Each Saturday, a different UNCG group has picked up their tools and set to work. The groups represent all areas of campus life such as Spartan baseball, University Advancement, Student Affairs, Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, Grogan Residential College, Student Government Association and Dining Services.

And those are just a sampling of groups who have volunteered since the project began in October. By the time the project is complete, nearly 20 different UNCG groups will have had a hand in creating a home where there once was just a plot of land.

A blog chronicles the progress of the home as each group takes its turn.

“Some of us definitely had a learning curve when it came to hammering nails. It's harder than it looks,” wrote Beth Hens, UNCG project coordinator for the Habitat house, after University Advancement's October work day. “Thanks to help from a couple of pros on our team, we soon got the hang of it, albeit not without some bent nails — and a couple bruised thumbnails.”

Sophomore Hilari Bowman, with Grogan Residential College, recorded her thoughts on the blog.

“I am beyond thrilled to have been given the opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity. Our work day consisted of building the roof — lifting 14 trusses from the ground up, attaching them, and nailing plywood for the roof. Never would I have imagined myself doing anything that required me to be harnessed to a rooftop! … This experience helped me get my foot in the door and I will undoubtedly be signing up to do this again in the future!”

Many days, future homeowner Beshir Ibnaouf works alongside the enthusiastic volunteers.

Beshir came to North Carolina from the Sudan in 1997. His wife, Maarif Abbas, and their young daughter, Romesa, joined him two years later. The family has grown with the birth of four more children.

Beshir worked as a taxi driver during his first years in North Carolina, but he has worked as a printer operator at Banner Pharmacaps for the past six years. Romesa is now 14 and her younger siblings are ages 10, 7, 3 and 2.

Beshir and Maarif beam with pride when discussing their children, whom they refer to as their “treasure.”

“The Ibnaouf family is a very good fit for Habitat's goals,” said Lillie Brown-Doggett, director of family services for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Greensboro. “They are hardworking, financially responsible and dedicated to building a better life for their children.”

Alumni Association members will work on the home Jan. 8 and March 19. The dedication for the completed house is scheduled for April 2.

Follow the progress of the house at










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