This year May 2017, I decided to take up a shelter build trip with Habitat for Humanity with 9 other amazing individuals. The initial motivation was to expose myself to a different kind of experience altogether. But at the end of it all, it could only strike the most impact upon one’s perspective of life . Before I deepen into any afterthoughts, let’s scroll down the pictures to what a shelter build is like!
Stage 1 – Demolition
Before we could begin any construction, we had to commence the demolition of the current house, an old shelter made of mainly wooden walls and brick roof. So here we begin tearing down the house.
Stage 2 – Trench Digging and Material Transportation
And once we’re done clearing the site, the canvas is set up over the area to provide some shade while we begin digging trenches to lay the foundation. We also had to transport materials (cement, bricks) up the slope. Boy, was it just gruelling manual labour.
Stage 3 – Wire Bending and Cement Mixing
While the materials are being transported, other tasks such as wire bending has been assigned to other team members who would like to take it a little easier.
Stage 4 – Bricklayering and Plastering
Next, we’re all set to lay the bricks and plaster them up!
Saying our Goodbyes
On the final day, it was hard to hold back. Tears were shed not only because we had to leave, but we learnt how much this had meant to Mr Kami and the villagers. It’s all about Mr Kamin being able to have a home to pass down for generations.
Highlight – Rest and Relaxation!
As we come to the end of our build, a day is scheduled in for rest and relaxation. So off we go to Borobudur at 3am to catch the amazing sunset, then we raced through the gravel on Mount Merapi in jeeps.
To end it all, I would like to share a little story.
When you are born into this world with a list of privileges ready for you and basic needs satisfied it is unconditionally ingrained that this is the everyday norm. It is hard to fathom even a day without our smartphones, much less to say not having enough food on the table.
Back in Secondary school, I was a glutton and did not like to share my food. Often, during recess breaks, my classmates and I would gather around for lunch. I would buy my usual plate of rice, vegetables and meats, coming back to the table brimming with joyful hunger. Just as when I am about to dig in, at least one of my friends would ask me the dreadful question,”Donna. Can I have some?”. During the age of growth, such a request throbs my heart as if someone was about to kidnap my daughter rice grains from my plate.
Despite my blackened face, I usually say “Yes” unwillingly. Truly, deep inside, I pleaded them to read my face and politely back off.
And then Miss Hungry-but-not-hungry-enough-to-order-her-own-food would reach for my spoon at tortoise speed, gently scoops into my rice mash at a speed where my eye pupils could steadily follow her thumbnail’s arc of motion. Inside, I was screaming,”Why don’t you buy your own food?!”.
The whole situation may feel hilarious and my group of friends will always poke at me about this fact.
But the whole point is on the grand scale of things, the world becomes cold when each of us desire the excess of things when we can have less and share with others. Just as the eating incident as aforementioned, I don’t really need that much food in order to be full, yet I wanted to be filled to the brim. And this is why gluttony is also known to be a “sinful” act. Taking in beyond what we need robs others of their daily bread.
Nevertheless, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Albeit a little shortcut through the summary, but I hope the pictures have given you an idea about a build project hosted by Habitat For Humanity.