Meet the Team

The members of our team are coming together from 4 different countries to build together in Ethiopia; team members range in age from 16 to 60+!

jessJess Wilson
Beersheva, Israel
Jess is the Team Leader for this GV trip. She grew up in the US but has lived in 5 different countries in the past 10 years- most recently Israel, where she is in her final year of studying medicine; she plans to be a surgeon. Jess has volunteered with Habitat for 12 years, and has been a team leader for the last 6! She has led trips to Cambodia, China, and all over the United States, from Washington state to Georgia. She loves introducing people to Habitat, and is looking forward to an awesome build with what promises to be a very caring and hard-working team!


Eden Gwyn
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Eden is an Experience Analyst for a tech agency, working with online platforms for various organizations. She enjoys her job which affords her the opportunity to stay involved with technology at a human-level. She has lived in various states across the US. She loves dogs and has a rescue puppy named Bear. She enjoys traveling, do-it-yourself projects, photography, music, food, cultural exploration and the great outdoors. This will be her first visit to Ethiopia and she is extremely excited to work with and connect with the people living there alongside her teammates.

zane (1)Zane Steward
Greencastle, Pennsylvania USA
Zane is an avid world traveler. He has extensive traveling experience all over the US and internationally in France, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Spain and Turkey. This will be his 2nd time to Africa, having previously visited Tanzania. He has a big heart for humanitarian work and those living in poor conditions with limited opportunities. He has traveled twice with the organization Soles4Souls distributing footwear to orphans. This will be his first time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Currently, he is a store manager for a shoe company in PA.




Shoshana “Sho” Levy
Current city: Santa Barbara, CA
Hometown: Monte Rio, California
I’m an entrepreneur with a love for nature, live music, dance and yoga.






samSamantha Rowland
Current country: Kenya
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Currently working for Peace Corps in Kenya 2013-2015 with food security and business. In my spare time I love volunteering, photography, cooking (trained chef), traveling (been to Europe, Mexico, and Africa) and going on crazy adventures. After PC, I will be volunteering in Israel for a year and once back in Seattle, will return to school with hopes of completing a PhD in nutrition. This is my first (of many more) global build and I am very excited to get the opportunity during my PC service. I will also be staying until the 24th if anyone is interested, I think I am going to do some trekking at Bale National Park 🙂

IMG_6865 Don AokiDon Aoki
Mountain View, California, USA
Don lives in Northern California with his wife Peggy and two children, Caroline, 17, and Mark, 14. Don was born and raised in Los Angeles and lived in Boston, Chicago and Brussels before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. Don holds a MS from MIT in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and a BS in Computer Science from USC. A veteran of four technology start-ups, Don is a technology executive, angel investor and advisor to early-stage companies. Don serves on three non-profit boards: the Foothill De Anza Community College Foundation, the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) and Poston Community Alliance. Don’s interests include a daily Bikram Yoga practice, travel, history, genealogy, and meeting with friends.

Caroline Aoki
Mountain View, California, USA
Caroline Aoki attends the King’s Academy, a college prep high school in Silicon Valley. She is a junior and plays on the school water polo and varsity soccer teams. In addition to playing soccer, she follows the professional leagues and holds season tickets for the San Jose Earthquakes, and is an avid fan of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Real Madrid. Caroline has one brother Mark, a high school freshman, a talented club soccer player. Caroline has several animal companions under the same roof: a middle aged golden retriever, a terrier puppy, a cat, two bunnies and three cockatiels.

TashTash Alli
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hey everyone 🙂 I just recently graduated with a Psychology degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. I am currently working as a financial advisor for a mortgage company in Toronto. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends, being up at my cottage, staying active and travelling. This will be my first Habitat trip, and I could not be more excited to be immersed in the culture, meet the people, and experience all that Africa has to offer. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by such incredible people in my life, that I would like to be able to give back and at least make a small difference. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and making some unforgettable memories.

PaulPaul Graham
Auckland, New Zealand
Born and raised in NZ, travelled in my younger days, and re-kindled travel with Habitat for Humanity. I have been travelling to Ethiopia for the last five years with H4H, and co-leading and leading teams of Kiwis for the last two years, including last year with my wife and two young daughters. I see this trip as a great chance to work with a team of different nationalities, as well as a chance to have a bit of a recce of the Harar/Bisidimo area before leading a team of Kiwis over again in October. I keep coming back to Ethiopia as I love the people and what the country has to offer. Look forward to meeting you all in Addis.

VeldaVelda Johnson (I go by either Velda or my friends shorten that up to V.)
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
This will be my second Global Village build. My first experience was in Nepal. I enjoy traveling and taking active vacations. A few years ago I ventured into the triathlon world. I enjoy biking, running, and I’m working on enjoying the swimming piece. I enjoy most anything outdoors. I’m looking forward to the build, meeting the team members and learning more about the Ethiopian culture.


Sarah DSarah Dennemeyer
Hometown: Reno, Nevada, USA
Currently lives in: Be’er Sheva, Israel
Sarah is wrapping up her third year at the Medical School for International Health, or MSIH. She is very much interested in anything related to psychology and mental health, and plans to pursue a career in child and adolescent psychiatry. Travel, singing, acting, and dancing are just some of her passions outside of school, and she had the great fortune to participate in the Light Opera Group of the Negev (LOGON) productions of “Oliver!” in 2012 and “Beauty and the Beast” in 2013. Along with a few of her fellow MSIHers, Sarah is currently a member of the Be’er Sheva “Cantacapella” choir. This is her first volunteer experience with Global Village, and she could not be more stoked to meet her fellow team members and build homes with them, all while experiencing the rich culture of Ethiopia.

photo (17)Will Vergara
New York City, New York, USA
My name is William but people call me Will. I’m 34 yrs old…I live in New York City and I’m currently working for Time Warner Cable. I travel a lot… Love to meet people from every part of the globe and learn more about their culture… Their food… Their customs. In my spare time I’m probably visiting the museums. I go to the gym a lot, or I just meet some friends and we go cruising the city… I love to walk. I’m very excited about this trip.. This will be my first trip with Habitat…. But Im planning on doing one every year from now on. Time is flying so I know I will meet each and everyone of you really soon… Looking forward to it… :))

BooKristen “Boo” Cummings
Dallas, Texas, USA
Hello teammates! Although, my legal name is Kristen, I’m known as “Boo” to all my family and friends. I was born in Ottawa, Canada and spent my teen years growing up in Vancouver, B.C, before relocating to Dallas, Texas for University and the heat. I earned my degrees in both B.S. Cell Biology (1995) and B.S Arch (2005), and recently returned to finish my M.S. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in 2012. During the day, I’m medical researcher (Proteomics), but in the evenings… I let my hair down and enjoy life.
I am an extremely carefree spirit (outside the lab), and enjoy the great outdoors (hiking, biking, climbing…sand volleyball etc…), I’m an avid yogi, as well. I love to travel, take risk and embrace the unknown, so to speak. I’m drawn to adventure, learning about new cultures, languages and ways of life, but most important is spending time giving back to those less fortunate through humanitarian service.
What is really near and dear to my heart has been my passion and commitment to Habitat’s mission. I’ve spent the past 10yrs. as a CV (core volunteer), and House Lead with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, my 2nd family. The build site is where you’ll find me on any given Saturday. What can I say, I LOVE it! I Love “everything” about Habitat; the people, especially working side-by-side our homeowners, as equals and as a team. I strongly believe in and support Habitats mission etc… This may be my 4th GV trip. My pivotal ah-ha moment occurred during the “Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project” in Leogane, Haiti in 2011 and desire and drive to do more, only deepened after returning to Leogane, again in 2012. T’was a life altering experience, it’s hard to explain, or put into words, but an experience that I am honored and grateful for. I will be returning to Leogane in August, as I’ve left a huge piece of my heart there and am committed to doing whatever I can to lend a hand.
Enough about me, I am looking so forward to meet each and every one of you. Trust me when I say this, this experience is going to change your life and for the better. Perhaps, you might even develop a case of what we like to call, “Habitatitis” for which there is no cure, but that’s a good thing! Namaste

Team members not pictured:

map_of_new-zealandSusie Mills
Waikanae, New Zealand

Mike Odey
Waikanae, New Zealand


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s