Roanoke College, Habitat home delivered to permanent spot


ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Thursday was a different kind of moving day for Habitat for Humanity's 200th house in the Roanoke Valley.

It's also the 10th R-House, built in a parking lot by students at Roanoke College. Thursday, it went from the parking lot to its permanent location in Roanoke.

Thursday was a day of excitement for Zayana Abdallah, her husband Athuman Shaban and their four children who will now have a permanent place to call their own.

"I was so excited to see that," said home recipient  Abdallah. "Since I lived here I've already lived in two houses."

Both - natives of Burundi, Africa - were refugees in Tanzania before immigrating to the United States in 2008. Now, they live in Salem. Two of their four children are in college, one attends Salem High School and the youngest is 5-years-old.

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Roanoke College students and staff working on the project said building R-House on campus before it's moved is a great way to get more people involved.

"This is a real teachable moment," said Director of Civic Engagement Jesse Griffin. "We're getting to show our students that service is a really big part of our mission as a college."

More than 600 students work on R-house, including all incoming freshmen. Many builders leave their mark on the walls as they go, spray painting or writing their names on the boards.

Their work doesn't end with Thursday's delivery. Students will return to the home's permanent spot on Fairfax Avenue in northwest Roanoke to finish what they started.

For Abdallah and her family, the home is a new beginning.

"My children, also, they are so happy because we're going to have our own house," she smiled.

It's a house she's looking forward to making a home, complete with vegetables from her home country.

"And especially I'd like to dig, so I'm going to have a garden," Abdallah said.

The family will have the keys to their Habitat home by the end of the year.