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Kuching, Malaysia

January 4, 2010 to January 16, 2010

Kick off 2010 with this trip of a lifetime in culturally, scenically and gastronomically rich Malaysia! Our build will take place in Kuching—the capital of the Malaysian region of Sarawak—on the island of Borneo.

About Malaysia
Tropical, resource-rich Malaysia is a nation of two geographic regions. Peninsular Malaysia borders Thailand and boasts large cities and an active agricultural, industrial and service economy. The other half of Malaysia is located across the South China Sea, bordering Indonesia, Brunei and the South China Sea, south of Vietnam.

The entire land mass of Malaysia is about the size of the U.S. state of New Mexico. Its climate is tropical, with annual monsoon seasons in the southwest from April to October and in the northeast from October to February.

Kuala Lumpur is the pride of Malaysia. It is the capital and the main port of entry in and out of Malaysia. It was chosen a few decades ago as the country’s modern capital.

About Habitat for Humanity Malaysia
HFH Malaysia built its first house in 1999 in Kuching, Sarawak. There are affiliates in Kuching (1999), Kuala Lumpur (2003) and Kota Kinabalu (2004).

HFH Malaysia works in both semi-urban and rural areas, building houses and completing renovations. It also creates community partnerships to obtain land for families. In rural Sarawak, for example, nearly one third of Habitat’s target group consists of families with insufficient incomes to build on their own land or afford other housing programs.

Habitat affiliates use various construction methods: raised floor construction with timber; concrete slab construction with hollow blocks; and modular house construction with polystyrene panels. The average house size ranges from 50 square meters up to nearly 60 square meters.

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers will help build homes with hollow block walls with cement plaster finish and wood frame houses on stilts. Habitat Malaysia uses various construction methods, including raised floor construction with timber, concrete slab construction with hollow blocks and modular house construction with polystyrene panels.

Standard itinerary
January 4, Monday
: Depart for Malaysia
January 5, Tuesday
: Travel day
January 6, Wednesday
: Arrive in Kuching; welcome and orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner
January 7–9, Thursday–Saturday
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities
January 10, Sunday (Free days)
: Activity in local community
January 11–15, Monday–Friday
: Breakfast served before traveling to work site; farewell lunch with families on final day
January 16, Saturday
: Departure day.

Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences with affiliate staff, such as market tours and visits to museums, church, historical sites, etc.

Note: The team leaders are planning an optional post-build R&R for 4 days and 3 nights (January 16–18) at a reasonable additional cost. Please contact the team leader for more information.

Most teams stay in a local hotel with air conditioning; participants share double-occupancy rooms and a private bath.

Trip cost
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).

Team leaders
Colleen Kaleda has been leading Global Village teams since 2003, building Habitat homes in India, Bolivia, New Zealand, Guatemala and Thailand. An insatiable world traveler, she has found herself in 45 different countries (so far) in her lifetime. She is a freelance writer and photographer and part-time university professor and lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their four sled dogs.

Marti Wolfson is looking forward to returning to Southeast Asia after co-leading her first Global Village trip to Vietnam in 2009. Infamous in certain Habitat circles for giving early morning yoga classes, she is a wellness practitioner and natural foods chef in and around New York City. She enjoys writing, performing and hiking. This will be her sixth Habitat build experience, and her second Global Village trip to co-lead a dedicated and motivated group of generous volunteers.

For more information about this Global Village trip to Malaysia, contact Colleen at or Marti at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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