JCWP 2001: Photo
World Leaders Build

JCWP 2001: Photo
, Korea

10 August 2001




  "My father wanted a son, so I got a hammer instead of a rattle," laughs JCWP volunteer Holly Bogossian of Atlanta, Ga. Indeed, the 50-year-old computer programmer is obviously at home on the work site, where she's worked all week as a crew leader on one of the Women Build four-unit dwellings in Asan, Korea.

A volunteer with Atlanta HFH, Bogossian came to Korea in May with a team of skilled workers from the United States. That group helped jump-start the "pre-build" construction activities in Asan.

"I love doing this work," Bogossian says. "It's so different from my job, where I work with bits and bytes. This gets me out with other people. It's tangible."

Bogossian was happy to be assigned to the Women Build team, finding it appropriate to her background. "My mother taught me women can do it," she explains. "My father taught me how to do it."

As for the son her father always wanted? Holly's younger brother came along after two more sisters.


Christi Anderson, 26, took a year off from college to join Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps. She had a willing spirit, but knew nothing about construction.

"If you had told me there were vertical pieces of wood in a wall, it would never have crossed my mind," Anderson laughs.

Anderson spent two years with AmeriCorps one in New Orleans and another in New York City. "The first year gave me construction skills," she says. "The second year gave me an opportunity to learn people skills." Eventually, she finished college with a degree in sociology, and joined the construction staff of HFH New York City.

Anderson's AmeriCorps experience was thorough -- if the success of the JCWP building where she is a building leader is any indication. Her crew of men and women stayed right on schedule all week, thanks to her competent direction.

"I just want to follow her around all day taking notes," says Women Build volunteer and crew leader Holly Bogossian. "We've made it so fun on our house that everybody wants to come to work."

"I love going to work, and teaching and empowering women," Anderson says. "My role is to de-mystify construction for them, and then let them go with it."


One of any JCWP week's highlights comes Friday morning. That's when Alicia Smith musters a crew to facilitate the long- awaited house-crew photo with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn, Millard and Linda Fuller and Dr. Chung Kun Mo.

A former Carter administration staff person and current senior vice president of a consulting firm in Washington D.C., Smith volunteers every year during JCWP with President Carter's staff. Her assignment for several years has been to expedite the shooting of house photos quickly and efficiently.

"We try to impose the least amount of disruption for every homeowner and house crew," Smith says. "We want them to have a photo to keep as a reminder of this experience."

This year's 35-member "advance" team split into small groups, complete with photographer and bi-lingual (Korean and English) speakers, that leap-frogged ahead of one another from house to house. Their assignments? — To corral some 60 to 100 excited volunteers into three lines in front of 20 buildings, in preparation for the arrival of the VIPs.

One advance team member likened this process to "herding cats."

The VIP group walked from building to building accompanied by loud cheers, applause and laughter. President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, along with other VIPs responded with warm smiles and friendly greetings. After the photographers took each building's crew photo, President Carter took a moment to present Bibles to each of Asan's 78 Habitat homeowner families.

The house photo moment is an important one for volunteers. Early in the week, President Carter implored volunteers to work, not take photos. "My wife and I came to work, not to pose for photographs," President Carter said during the JCWP opening ceremonies. "During working days, please do not come to us for photographs. If you do, we are not working, you are not working. But I promise, you will have a photo with me. In the meantime, work hard and enjoy the blessings of being a Habitat volunteer."

Note: House photos from this year's Jimmy Carter Work Project will be available in two weeks on two web sites: www.habitat.org in English and www.jcwp2001.org in Korean.


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