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‘A good home and a good life for the future’ -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1 October 31, 2006

‘A good home and a good life for the future’

I left Mumbai after dark and arrived in Thailand in the bright morning light of Tuesday.  The difference between the places is truly night and day. I traveled to Phuket in the southern part of Thailand to assist with communications, as President Carter, his wife Rosalynn, Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan Reckford and others visited a village called Thachatchai to see the tsunami recovery work Habitat is doing there.

Habitat is building nearly 100 houses in this community of about 2,000 people, many of whose homes were damaged or destroyed when the tsunami struck. I ate my Tuesday lunch under cover right on the beach and tried to imagine the area during the tsunami. Stretched out blue and calm as far as I could see, the sea looked harmless. It looked more like an old friend ready to offer the fishermen in this village the next catch of the day (just as someone on some recent day had caught my lunch).

On Wednesday a couple of dozen reporters and photographers, along with dignitaries, corporate sponsors and the community members themselves, attended a press conference, in which Jonathan recapped his experience in the very same village one year ago.

He said he was inspired to see a community come together to help one another and to help itself.

Mr. Carter also addressed the crowd, saying that he and Mrs. Carter also came from a small village in the United States and that it was their honor and privilege to be there among the people whose land, country and people the tsunami so profoundly affected.

"We share your grief and determination to restore life after the tsunami struck. We consider the home for families to be one of the basic human rights. We are impressed by the beauty of the village and the initiative you have taken to repair your houses. So we join our hearts with yours in the expectation that you should have a good home and a good life for the future."

I am at the Bangkok airport now, headed back to Mumbai and the JCWP in Lonavala.  I'll write more from there.