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Australian Volunteers Find Nepal Build A “Moving Experience”

Eleven-Member Team Work On Two Bamboo Houses With Habitat Families

MORANG, 3rd June 2008: When an Australian team worked on a build in eastern Nepal, their hard work so moved Bibi Khantung that the Habitat home partner said she would always remember “how their sweat helped to build my dream home”.

Immersion: The Australian volunteers going local with Nepalese outfits on home dedication day.

Versatile: Whether handling mud or bricks, the volunteers take it in their stride.

The 11 volunteers helped to build two bamboo houses together with Habitat home partners and local volunteers in Morang district. Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity in Nepal had hosted student teams from South Korea, Shanghai in China, and Dubai in United Arab Emirates.

The Australian team readily tackled a variety of tasks, ranging from cutting and weaving bamboo to plastering the walls with mud. “I loved interacting with the home partners and the rest of the community. I had a great experience learning the language and getting my hands dirty and seeing the product of our hard work,” said team member Brianna.

Joining the Australian volunteers were six volunteers from Habitat’s partner, Nari Bikash, a local non-governmental organization that is involved in the empowerment of rural poor and disadvantaged women.

Habitat home partner Bibi Khantung was touched by the volunteers’ efforts. “I was so happy when the team came. I did not expect so many people to help work on my house. It was so hot but they worked so hard. I will always remember them…”

For the Australian volunteers, cultural exposure also came in the form of food, clothing and dance. There was the Nepalese fare that was served every day by Nari Bikash. On the last day, some volunteers donned colorful local outfits to celebrate the completion of one of the two bamboo houses. Last but not least, learning local dance from the social welfare and preservation society was a highlight.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. But a team member, Joel, said: “Engaging with the locals was a profoundly moving experience. I learnt so much about communication with others and the experience has altered my perceptions and approaches towards people of other cultures.”