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HFH Thailand Hosts First Global Village Team In Bangkok

26 Volunteers From Hong Kong International School Help Build Two Houses

BANGKOK, 17th October 2006: Habitat for Humanity Thailand hosted its first Global Village team of volunteers from Hong Kong International School (HKIS) in the Thai capital recently.

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Teamwork: volunteers from Hong Kong International School hoist metal roof sheets at one of the houses.

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Say “cheese”: HKIS volunteers posing with Santi (centre), a foreman, at one of the houses where they had finished laying block walls up to the roof level.

The 23 students, aged 15 to 18, and three teachers helped to build two houses in Romklao village in Ladkrabang district. The village is about 45 minutes’ drive from Bangkok.

From 27th to 30th September, the volunteers worked together with homepartner families, mostly to construct walls and dig holes for septic tanks. The 36 sq. m. houses are made of hollow blocks and have metal sheets for roofing. The houses are of one-room design with the bathrooms at the back of the houses.

In addition, the team members got to know the villagers better through their interaction on various occasions. During the welcome dinner on the day of the team’s arrival, a folk dance had villagers and volunteers up on their feet. The volunteers also piqued the village children’s curiosity who came by to watch the construction progress. When work ended, it was play time as volunteers and children headed for the local playground.

When it was time to say goodbye, there was hardly a dry eye among the volunteers.

“I enjoyed spending time with the families and children. I’ve gotten so attached that it’s hard to leave. When we were leaving, a boy ran up and gave me a flower because I was crying. I’ve never been so moved in my life,” said HKIS volunteer Alexa Justice.

“I enjoyed working on the house but my favorite part of the entire experience was working and connecting with the village and their children. I made a strong connection with a few kids and it was heartbreaking to leave,” said Abby Cunningham, another HKIS volunteer. She added: “I can’t wait for my next build; the experience was amazing.”

The two houses were part of HFH Thailand’s project in Romklao village to build seven new houses and add extensions to ten others.

As of end August 2006, HFH Thailand has built 1,410 houses including several hundred houses for the tsunami reconstruction project in southern Thailand. In Bangkok, Habitat has built two houses with local volunteers and labor.