Owning a Habitat house can provide a home base for a business, such as this homeowner's produce stand in General Santos City.
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1999 JCWP Report

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When volunteers descended on General Santos City in the Philippines this week, they might have had the impression the Jimmy Carter Work Project had already come and gone.

That's because there are already more than 400 Habitat for Humanity-built houses in the 14.6-acre development. General Santos City Habitat for Humanity, it turns out, has been at work constructing simple, decent homes on the site since 1988.

Yet the affiliate's work is not even close to completion. Even when JCWP'ers finish the 50 houses they've been assigned to build this week, the Habitat acreage has room for another 350 houses before it's full. Funding from the JCWP should help the affiliate build its last house on this site by 2003.

General Santos City lies at the southern tip of the Philippines. A city of 500,000, it perches amid rolling hills, sandwiched by mountains to the north and Sarangani Bay to the south. Nearby Mt. Apo is the nation's tallest peak, rising 9,700 feet (2,940 meters).

That Habitat for Humanity is so active in General Santos City seems only natural, considering the area's past. Once a sleepy municipal district called Buayan, General Santos City was developed by the national government in 1939 as a resettlement project for the landless. The effort was headed by Gen. Paulino Santos, Sr., for whom the municipality was named in 1965.

During the past few decades, General Santos City has boomed. It is the nation's second-busiest fishing port. Inland, banana and pineapple plantations thrive, and hog and cattle farms flourish. Sashimi-grade tuna is a notable export.

Habitat GenSan, the neighborhood where JCWP volunteers are working, was established 11 years ago after 15 individuals decided to form a local Habitat affiliate. Habitat admirer Bartolome Beloso donated the acreage. The affiliate also has hosted several Global Village work camp groups from Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.S.

Return to Wednesday's 1999 JCWP Report

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