Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Habitat for Humanity adventure

Well I have been home now from my Fijian build for quite some weeks, however they have been a crazy busy few weeks, so I haven't had a chance to post anything on here.  I also went to write it every single moment of it up, and had second thoughts... I reckon people would much prefer the shorter abridged version. 

So, to give you the background...  I went on a Global Village Build for Habitat for Humanity in April - not long after Mia's arrival in fact.  I must admit, I was really impressed with HFH.  This was a really big build, and it was in conjunction with several other charities, so it would have been a lot of work to organise.

One of the things HFH said was that we should make sure that if we were going to put photos and stories on social media or the internet, locations/names/identities should not be published to respect the privacy of the people.  So here is my short version (mainly in pictures) of what we achieved with no mention of locations or names.

We did have one morning of free time on the day after we arrived.  The bus was going to the beach for a couple of hours, so I went along to check it out... after all, I was in beautiful Fiji!!
Gotta love a bunch of palm trees

The tree I sat under to enjoy the view and the fact I was in beautiful Fiji!

Coconut on the beach!

Our first job was to build the frame and lay the timber flooring on the main part of the house.  There had already been a lot of work done to prepare the site - including laying cement, plumbing drains, posts for the living area and roads and drains.

Floorboards laid!  Lots and lots of framework to do.

These are our 'coffins' - they contained all the smaller supplies for our build such as strapping, nails and hammers. Nothing was wasted - everything was carefully measured.

They didn't let us go hungry or get dehydrated!  We had two fruit breaks a day and kept our water up. I have to say, I enjoyed the food.

A Sunday School lesson we were lucky to observe.  The kids were very cute and the teachers were great with them.
Some of the kids who entertained us on the first welcome night. Extremely cute and very talented.

Frames are going up!  We needed help from the builders as 1. we were too weak to lift them into place and 2. we weren't allowed to hang from the rafters like they did.  I was totally ok with that!

Once the frames were up, the wet and exposed areas needed to be painted with a protective green paint.

Roof installed (by builders) and wall sheeting going up.  It was really taking shape now!
The locals from the settlement sold their craft wares to us on our lunch break.
Our team in front of our very almost finished house.  Unfortunately due to a massive downpour of rain, we were forced to finish early on the last day.  You can see some of the puddles making a moat around our house.  This wasn't a good mix with the electricity being used on site and I believe one of the workers on another site got a zap which is why we didn't get to completely finish.
Not our house, but a finished house with window shutters, plumbing and electricity.
Some more finished houses in the first stage of the settlement.
All in all, it was an exhausting but exhilarating experience.  I loved sweating, being sore and tired and generally the feeling I guess men get when they do this kind of physical work.  The best part though was meeting the other volunteers, the locals in the village and most of all the local Fijian builders - many of whom had given up better paid jobs to give back to their own people and community.

Would I do it again?  YES!  Will I? I do hope so, but I don't know where or when.  But I wholeheartedly would recommend it.  I'm not sure if there is a better feeling in the world than helping someone in need.

If you would like some information on how to fundraise for something like this, I have a post on what I did to raise money for this build.

Thanks for reading!

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