Habitat For Humanity Jogja Build 2016 2nd May to 7 May 2017

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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!


02 - Team Photo
Day 1 – This is the almighty team of 10 assembled outside the Habitat For Humanity Indonesia’s office. A super nice and outgoing bunch of people!

03 - Orientation
At the office. We are taken through an introduction to Habitat for Humanity Indonesia and the dispatch of teams across villages in Indonesia.

05 a - Pick Up Truck
And then now it’s time to get to work and we head off in our pick up truck. Haha! This was practically our mode of transport to the work site every day.

05c - Climb Hill
Walking uphill to our work site

05d - Flag
We were given this cool banner to pose with. Leaders much??



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.

31aii - Mr Kamin Old House
To begin with, this is the original house of Mr Kamin. The owner of the shelter that we were going to construct.

07 - Roof Top
Abangs on the roof top de-tiling

09b - Tile Toss
Forming the human chain

06c - Arvind on Ladders



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.

13b - Alvin
Alvin hard at work!

14 - Group Photo
We had to wheelbarrow lots of cement uphill!

13d - Dennis Digging13c - Digging14h - Simon Transport Wood14 - Transport Material14a - Ivant Transport14c - Simon Transport12 - Ivant Smile26 - Alvin carry Brick26 - Dennis Carry Brik

14g - Vivian Transport

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.

19b - Donna Cement Digging
Combined forces with the gang leader

18c - Alvin Kerok
Falling sick from the heat. This is known as “kerok”-ing, a traditional form of Indonesian gua sha

16b - Dennis and Svetlana Wire Bending16a - Vivian Metal Bend21 - Bang Metal19a - Alvin Mixing cement18d - Cement Mixing44 - Gang with Kids18 - Resting18b - Resting17b - Lunch

Stage 4 – Bricklayering and Plastering

Next, we’re all set to lay the bricks and plaster them up!

23 - A Group27a - Girls Bricklayering27b - Yim Bricklayering27a - Martin Bricklayering


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. :)

40 - Donna With Kids
Girl doesn’t seem so happy with me! :(

37a - Thank you06a - Mr Kamin and Wife50 - End42 - All Children


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.

58 - Jeep  56 - Dnna Dennis Alvin 55 - Simon  53 - Sunrise 52 - The Rest 51 - Simon Alvin and Dennis

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.


60 - End