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Habitat for Humanity 24 September 2009

Posted by uggclogs in Life.
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Yesterday I was involved in the (partial) building of a house for Habitat for Humanity. They are an organisation that builds low-cost housing for the poorest people around the world. They are heavily reliant on volunteers and their efforts, so I spent one working day with them.

In Vietnam, they have several sites throughout the country where they are active, but here in the North, they only have a project in Vinh Phuc province. In the village where the project is currently operating, most of the poorest people are fishing families that live on boats. Land was donated by the Vietnamese government for these families, however, most of them cannot afford to build anything on the site. This is where Habitat comes in, and provides the skill and the money to build small, affordable homes for these families.

We were lucky enough to meet the lady who will be moving in to the house that we were working on, and she was very happy to meet all of us, although I am sure she was slightly intimidated by the large amount of volunteers that was streaming through her village this week.

My day consisted of

– Cleaning windows and doors, (to prepare them for painting),

– Straightening, bending, cutting, measuring, arranging and tying together iron bars that are going to reinforce concrete benchtops in the kitchens,

– Lugging huge cannisters of paint from the drop off point to storage,

– Rendering a wall (I think I did 20 by 30 centimetres, and someone else needed to redo it afterwards because it was pretty badly done. Still, good to have a go!)

Other things done by the team were

– Stacking bricks,

– Painting walls,

– Roofing and guttering,

And much, much more.

It was a fun, and thouroughly exhausting day, and I am certainly feeling it today in my muscles. But it was totally worth it!

We were a sort of Guinea-Pig run, where the organisers could work out what way is the easiest and fastest way to build things, and they were limiting the actual number of people that were working on the house itself to 15, so they have some notion of how long it will take to finish one house. In November, there is going to be a ‘Blitz Build’ throughout the Mekong Delta Region, where loads and loads of volunteers will descend on the area and build many, many houses in one week. I wish them the best of luck, and the most of fun, I bet it will be completely mental, but fantastic.

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