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Daily summaries from Thailand -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Daily summaries from Thailand

Friday, November 20, 2009

Build day 5: A celebration of family
The final day of building at this year’s Carter Work Project was exhausting, emotional and rewarding, as volunteers hurried to finish construction and honor the 82 homeowner families with individual house dedication ceremonies. The presence of dozens of homeowners’ children—allowed on site for this special occasion—was a joyful reminder that it is all about the families. “Their hopes and dreams now have a chance to flourish,” said Habitat for Humanity Thailand president Chainarong Monthienvichienchai.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Build day 4: Almost ready for open doors
The symbolism of a front door transcends all the language barriers, generation gaps and wildly different skill sets that are part of any international Carter Work Project. Near the end of Day 4 of building in Chiang Mai, crew members from each house started making their way from the construction stock room to the individual sites, carrying slender wooden doors on their heads or in their arms.

On most of the 82 houses, installation of the doors and windows will be finished on Friday, the final day of the build. It is a bittersweet moment, as eager homeowners and dedicated volunteers gather to celebrate the completion of a house and the end of a life-changing experience.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Build day 3: Roofs arrive on Chiang Mai houses

By the end of the third build day, rippled green roofs began to appear in what used to be an orchard of lychee and teak trees. Steel roof trusses were put into place on all 82 houses, and grounded volunteers filled in the spaces between bricks with mortar, using plastic water bottles or kitchen funnels. Cheers erupted sporadically throughout the day, whenever a proud crew reached a milestone in the construction schedule. “You can almost feel a collective sigh of relief” now that the roof systems are in place, said Scot Montjoy, a block leader from Pinellas County, Florida, United States.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Build day 2: The heat lets up, and the pace picks up
Volunteers hit their stride Tuesday, Day 2 of the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project 2009 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A slight breeze tempered the heat that sent 150 volunteers to the first-aid tent Monday.

The pace of construction quickened on all 82 houses, which meant walls were higher and provided more precious shade.

Former President Jimmy Carter took a golf-cart tour of the entire build site early Tuesday, and later got a standing ovation when he and his wife, Rosalynn, showed up at the buffet line for lunch. A steady stream of Asian celebrities, including actors John Abraham and Jet Li, and dignitaries, including the governor of Chiang Mai, kept the build site bustling all day.


Monday, November 16, 2009

First build day: Brick by brick, a community takes shape
Hot weather greeted volunteers in Thailand, as they tackled the first day of building with energy. The 82 houses are 36 square meters and feature an interlocking brick technique. “It’s a simple house to build,” said Nevil Eastwood, Habitat’s construction manager on this year’s Carter Work Project. “Trying to build 82 of them in four and a half days makes it a little more difficult.” By the end of Day 2, the brickwork should be finished and the roof truss brackets set in place. “That’s the first major milestone,” Eastwood said. “If we don’t get that done, it will be difficult to catch up.” On Day 3, it’s all about putting roofs in place. And on Day 4, volunteers will install windows and doors and start painting the interiors. On the fifth day of building, crews will finish the interior details and complete all the landscaping.