Ki-Yeon Han, left, and Jong-Hag Kim are part of a 50-member team of volunteers from Korea.
Photo by Ginny Dixon

Jong-Hag Kim and Ki-Yeon Han
By Milana McLead

At the end of this week, Jong-Hag Kim and Ki-Yeon Han of Asan, Korea, will have come full circle. Both became Habitat homeowners during last year's project in their home country. Both longed to give something back. They are here with a 51-member contingent from HFH Korea, comprised of staff and volunteers.

Han remembers how he felt last year, when some 4,000 volunteers from around the world came to help build his and other Habitat houses in the Republic of Korea. "I had butterflies in my stomach the first time I had volunteers from all over the world work with me," he says. "There is never a frown on the faces of these people--they are always happy and smiling. I feel they are angels. My wife and I said to each other, if our finances get better later, we would go somewhere else to help other homeowners."

"It's so beautiful to meet everybody from around the world, and to know that I'm one of them," says Kim. "That's the most happy for me."

Through their experiences with Habitat, both now have a strong commitment to help others. "All of my perspectives are changing," says Kim. "I want to help people with all of my life."

Han says through the JCWP last year, he learned how to help people. "Before, I only knew myself and my family," he says. "Through Habitat, my perspective has changed. Now when things are negative or hard, I know all things are possible."

While the 100 JCWP homeowners here in Durban can only speculate about the impact their new houses will have on their lives, Kim and Han already know just what it means to have a Habitat home.

"Before living in my Habitat house, in winter we were cold and in summer we were hot," he remembers. "Now, in the summer we are cool and in the winter we are warm. Our housing condition is changed now."

"I think it is good for my family," Han says. "We don't have to move anymore, and our children are very happy."


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