Udon Thani, Thailand
Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime and the opportunity to make a difference? Are you open-minded, curious to learn more about the world around you, interested in alleviating poverty and investing in people? Here is your chance, and now is the time! On this trip, you will connect with new and different people, explore the rich culture and beautiful country of Thailand, get your hands dirty by working hard and realize the benefits of putting the principles of social justice into real action. The difference you make will be felt in your muscles at the end of every day, heard in the laughter of the family and your fellow team members, seen in the creation of a home that with your help rose up from the ground, and expressed in shared experience. This is the stuff that changed lives are made of!
Seventeen-year-old Nujaree Kunlung stays at home while her mother and sister work. Their new Habitat house is being built right next to their current house, pictured here.
Thailand (or “Prathet Thai” to locals) is located in Southeastern Asia and borders the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Myanmar (Burma). Laos and Cambodia also border Thailand to the north and east.
The climate in Thailand is tropical with a rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon season (mid-May to September) and a dry, cool northeast monsoon season (November to mid-March). The southern isthmus is hot and humid.
Thailand’s population is relatively homogeneous. More than 85 percent speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of about 95 percent of the country’s people. The government permits religious diversity, and other major religions are represented. Spirit worship and animism are widely practiced.
Udon Thani is located in northeastern Thailand, and this trip will be coordinated with the Habitat Resource Center-Northeast. Udon Thani has the longest-serving Habitat program in Thailand.
About Habitat for Humanity Thailand
The government’s National Housing Authority estimates some 8.2 million people live in substandard housing. Problems are particularly acute in Bangkok, as the capital has grown into a major metropolis, dwarfing other cities in the country. Migrants face high rents for small rooms and often live in overcrowded areas plagued by a lack of proper sanitation facilities. Squatter settlements are commonly seen along railway lines or near port and industrial areas.
Habitat for Humanity Thailand began operations in 1998 in Udon Thani. Since July 2006, HFH Thailand has been operating through Habitat Resource Centers in Bangkok in the central area, Chiang Mai in the north, Udon Thani in the northeast and Phang Nga province in the south.
HFH Thailand’s tsunami-reconstruction program has served more than 1,500 families as of 2008 and is being transformed, as planned, into a regular program. The move reflects the continuing need for affordable housing in the south of the country.
For more information, visit www.habitatthailand.org. An English language version of the site is available.
Types of construction for volunteers
HFH Thailand’s houses are typically 36 square meters each in size, and the design features the use of concrete interlocking blocks or concrete hollow blocks with a tiled roof. On-site volunteers can expect to move dirt and blocks, dig septic tanks, bend rebar, mix concrete, pour concrete and lay block under the supervision of a local foreman. No previous construction skill or experience is required.
Day 1, typically Saturday: Depart for Thailand.
Day 2, Sunday: Arrive in Bangkok; dinner and overnight in arrival Bangkok.
Day 3, Monday: Travel to host program; welcome and orientation with local staff; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
Days 4–8, Tuesday–Saturday (typical work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities.
Day 9, Sunday: Free day; local activities.
Days 10–13, Monday–Thursday (typical work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities. Dedication and farewell ceremony with community on Day 13.
Day 14, Friday: Travel to Bangkok; free time; dinner and overnight.
Day 15, Saturday: Depart for home.
Note: Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences such as market tours or visits to museums, orphanages, sporting events, schools and historical sites.
The team can expect lodging in a local hotel or guesthouse with participants sharing double-occupancy rooms and bathrooms. The trip cost also includes three meals per day, including traditional Thai lunches on the build site, as well as snacks and bottled water.
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. The team leader’s trip cost and estimated air fare may be included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
Susanna Birdsong and J.B. Lykes live in Durham, North Carolina. Susanna got her start in the world of nonprofits and housing working in the Youth Programs department at Habitat for Humanity International. She now works as the program director for the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness. J.B. is (finally!) about to graduate from medical school and embark on a residency in pediatrics. They led a Global Village trip to Guatemala in 2008; it was one of the best experiences of their lives. They love to get to know new places and meet new people and are looking forward to another opportunity to combine those things with making a difference.
For more information about the trip, please contact Susanna and J.B. at email@example.com.