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Laos build closes with happy homeowners -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1

Laos build closes with happy homeowners

By Gerard Snowball

As the volunteers arrived to the site and fanned out to their assigned houses, it was clear the Laotian families were dedicated to helping build improved lives for themselves. Volunteers had taken a day off for a day of rest, as required by local custom. They eagerly returned to the site to find home partners and their neighbors had continued building, despite heavy rains. With so much progress, volunteers quickly got to work Wednesday morning finishing projects left to be done.

Homeowner Choud Daboun (left) and Habitat staff member, Gerard Snowball.

 


One happy home partner, Mrs. Choud Daboun, stood on the porch under a new roof extension. Grinning broadly, she proudly showed us that she had already turned the porch into a small shop, selling drinks, sweets, soaps, toothpaste and other household items.

Arriving at the home of Aey and Houm Paeng Manhmanichanh, we found Mrs. Aey sweeping out her completed toilet and washroom block. Just two days ago, this spot was a patch of wet cement and partially-built walls.

Moving across the way to visit the Kettavongs, the foundations were complete and volunteers and local community members were preparing to pour the concrete floor. Vatsana, who worked night shifts as the village’s head security guard throughout the project, managed to work long, hard hours in order to provide a decent place for his children.

Wednesday afternoon, construction activities came to an end and the community—of families and volunteers—came together for a closing ceremony and celebratory lunch. The work in Laos was defined by outstanding initiative and flexibility by the home partners, volunteers and HFH staff; their ability to move past obstacles in order to further Habitat’s work has been inspiring. Great progress had been achieved in this village, located just a stone’s throw from the mighty Mekong.

Gerard Snowball is the regional resource development manager for Habitat for Humanity Asia and the Pacific.