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Hope Rises with a New House Built

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Volunteers work to get as much done on Friday as possible.

KUTTAPULY, Aug. 12, 2005 — Friday, the last full day of construction; if things go well today there’s a chance all five houses, even Antony’s, will be dedicated on Monday as planned.

Whether shoveling sand, carrying water or placing bricks, everyone seems to work with renewed energy and determination. Habitat’s 200,001st house build — along with the 200,000th build in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the United States — is in the home stretch.

With seeming ease, Antony, Georgeammal and their daughter Reginal, age 26, carry heavy pans of sand. Most days during the week, Antony has gone fishing at four o’clock in the morning, and turned up later in the day, first watching from the shade of a neighbor’s thatched awning, then helping out where he could. Now the three are front and center in the house building.

“This house is the only security we have,” Georgeammal said a few weeks back when the three family members were clearing rubble from fallen walls. Sleeping outside to avoid falling plaster, cooking in a dirt-floored, leaky, thatched shed; their lives had few prospects for improvement. Now their hope rises with a new house.

“We’ll work this weekend until we get the roof on,” says house build leader Mariane Whittemore. Her team wouldn’t have it any other way.