Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Build Day 3: President and Mrs. Carter visit Vietnam
Work was underway in Vietnam early Wednesday morning, and volunteers and homeowners crept closer to completing their assigned houses. An excited buzz ran throughout the site midmorning as word spread that former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter were en route.
The Carters arrived shortly before noon, accompanied by Habitat chief executive officer Jonathan Reckford and Habitat for Humanity Asia Pacific area vice president Rick Hathaway. The group greeted townspeople gathered on the work site before addressing volunteers, applauding their efforts and appreciating this project of cooperation.
After receiving armfuls of flowers from welcoming schoolchildren, the Carters toured the site, taking house photos and surveying the considerable progress.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Build Day 2: Camaraderie and culture
The sun broke through the heavy clouds over the village of Dong Xa on the second afternoon of building, illuminating 30 Habitat houses well on their way to completion. Skilled workers from the surrounding community were on site to help “render” the houses, or apply the stucco-like finish to the walls. Inside, volunteers painted walls pink, white or blue.
By day’s end, most houses had roof panels in place. Construction director Vic Fasolino was satisfied with the pace of progress. “We’re well on track,” he said, crediting the “great spirit of camaraderie on site.” The day closed with a dinner dedicated to celebrating Vietnamese cultural traditions and a Habitat tradition: tithing.
Habitat for Humanity International’s Steve Weir, vice president of Global Programs, and Christine Odom, senior director of Resource Development, recognized affiliates sponsoring houses in Dong Xa this year, from Michigan to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
Monday, November 16, 2009
First Build Day: Warming up to the job
On the first day of building in Vietnam, volunteers fanned out to the 30 Habitat houses under construction in Dong Xa fishing village. Curious neighbors and clusters of government officials gathered to observe the suddenly busy streets. A gray sky and brisk wind kept things chilly as volunteers warmed to the tasks at hand, which included laying block, spreading mortar and setting frosty-paned windows. Roof beams and panels started to go up during the afternoon.