Volunteers Raise Roofs in Spirit of "Bayanihan:" Building Together|
MARAGONDON, Philippines (March 25, 1999) -- Volunteers reached new heights on Thursday, the fourth day of this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project, at six building sites throughout the Philippines. It was a day for nailing down sheet metal and for beginning the final construction tasks. The sound of pounding nails was heard in every Habitat house.
All that hammering kept a handful of repairmen busy replacing wooden handles on broken hammers. Volunteer Sibylle Scholz brought her hammer to the repair crew in two pieces, head and handle. "That's how tough I am," she quipped.
Dozens of volunteers used long wooden rails to carry sheets of galvanized steel from tall piles of supplies to their houses, preparing to put on roofs. The work was reminiscent of the JCWP '99 logo, showing a house on rails being carried by people.
The theme of JCWP '99 is, in the native Tagalog language of the Philippines, "Magbayanihan Tayo," meaning, "Let us build together." This theme has biblical and cultural roots.
"Let us build together" is a biblical call to lay aside the differences that separate people, and to focus on a positive vision that can unite us and yield transforming results. In Nehemiah 2:18, we read, "...I told them how the gracious hand of my God had been upon me and also what the king has said to me. They replied, 'Let us start the rebuilding.' So they set about the work vigorously and to good purpose."
The JCWP '99 logo depicts a group of people carrying a house on their shoulders, with a bright yellow sunburst in the background. This image portrays a native Filipino tradition called "bayanihan," best exemplified when an entire village gathers to help roof a neighbor's house, or, if necessary, move the entire house to another location. It is an endearing image celebrated in many Philippine artworks. "Bayanihan" is defined as the spirit that motivates Filipinos to come together and help each other in times of need. It is the spirit of mutual assistance, mutual caring, sharing of responsibilities and problems as well as good fortune. Thus, the theme for JCWP '99, "Let us build together," is perfectly captured by its literal and cultural Filipino equivalent: "Magbayanihan Tayo!" This project is helping to rekindle the "bayanihan" spirit.
Perhaps this tradition doesn't sound so foreign to visitors from other nations who have taken part in "barn raisings" (or at least have heard about them from their grandparents).
JCWP Project Coordinator Rick Hathaway described Thursday's progress this way: "Our star site, Tagbilaran, is ahead of schedule. Dumaguete and Bacolod and Paranaque are just on time, right on schedule. Our biggest sites, General Santos City and Maragondon, were behind on Day 3 and made up some ground on Thursday. We're looking forward to a full day of work on Friday. President Carter is committed to working Saturday if needed."
Return to Thursday's 1999 JCWP Report
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