Jonathan Reckford and his son Alexander work alongside home partner Thoeun Visal.
By Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO
Today, I had the chance to spend more time with our other home partner, Thoeun Visal. His parents died of HIV in 2004, and he has been separated from his older brother and his younger siblings. He is 19 but looks more like 14, with an infectious smile and ready laugh in spite of all he has been through.
Visal and his family will be reunited and all live together beginning in a couple of days. His older brother, Thoeun Ou, will hold title to the property. Ou does garment piece work to sustain himself and can earn a few dollars a day, though not enough to support his family. A Habitat mission partner from the Catholic Church is funding the other children’s food and education costs.
Visal and I were pointing bricks (using a round tool to smooth and compress the mortar between the bricks to create a tight seal) and patching tiny holes in the mortar as we worked on Meng Nat’s home next door. Her neighbor on the other side had done similar brick construction (non-Habitat), but there were many holes and gaps in the mortar of her home. We want the homes of Visal and Meng Nat to be sound and to keep out the elements.
After working on Meng Nat’s home, Visal then went over to his house and was working on his own, diligently pointing bricks to seal the mortar and filling tiny holes. We had a brief but torrential downpour in the afternoon, and he was delighted to see that no water came in. I was delighted to see his level of initiative and pride in his home and that he had learned the skills to maintain his home in the years ahead.
Day 1: Building in Cambodia 
Day 3: Continuing the Cambodia Hope Journey 
Day 4: Habitat Cambodia responds to water and sanitation needs 
Day 5: Overcoming Challenges to Make a Difference 
Reflections from a Hope Journey Team Member