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International Team Begins Building Habitat’s 200,001st House in India

KANYAKUMARI, Aug. 8, 2005 — In Kuttapuly village, near the southern tip of India, 23 volunteers from seven countries began work today constructing five houses, including Habitat for Humanity’s 200,001st house. They hope to finish the houses in time to hand over keys to all the home partners when the 200,001st house is dedicated on Monday, Aug. 15.

The homeowners are tsunami-affected families whose houses were damaged by the waves. More than 100 houses in the coastal village have already been repaired or renovated by Habitat and a partner nongovernmental organization. The five houses being built this week, plus a practice house, are among 27 that will undergo extensive demolition and rebuilding.

The enthusiastic volunteers followed the lead of local skilled workers to learn traditional building techniques. They carried sand in wok-shaped pans and carefully fitted pre- notched rafters made of palm wood.

“It was hard work today, but very satisfying,” said house leader Mariane Whittemore, one of six volunteer builders from Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. In Knoxville this week, Habitat’s 200,000th house is being built by another international volunteer team.