Beuis, Romania - August, 13 1999 - Today, Habitat for Humanity dedicated 10 houses built during Eclipse Build 1999. Volunteers worked alongside the new Romanian homeowners to build the homes in 9 working days. The Eclipse Build was Habitat for Humanity's largest event in Europe this year.
Volunteers took a break mid-week to view the last solar eclipse of the millennium from Ramnicu Valcea, the earth's location with the longest period of totality. Habitat for Humanity volunteer, Dr. Ed Reichman, a solar scientist from the American National Aeronautic and Space Administration, gave a seminar and accompanied the volunteers to view the eclipse.
"I've never seen anything like that in my life, said Steven Billington, a resident of Germany, originally from Carson City, Nevada. "It was spectacular."
The new homeowners are amazed by something entirely different: the 350 volunteers from 6 continents who helped build their homes.
"These people have come into my country and helped me build my house and my neighbors' houses and they have not done it for money," said Daniel Briahna. "Thanks to them and to Habitat for Humanity, I have a better place to live."
True volunteerism is new to Romania, where under communism people were forced to work without pay. "We've tried to motivate volunteerism, said Adrian Ciorna, national coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in Romania. "You can tell by the volunteers here that people are overcoming their prejudice."
Habitat for Humanity will sell the homes for about US $12,800. Homeowners will make payments of $35 to $54 per month for 20 to 30 years, on a zero-interest mortgage.
"It is a great blessing that we can have 10 families in 10 homes so quickly, said Ciorna. "We're very thankful to God for being able to do it by faith and for the human and material means."
In addition to the volunteers and homeowners, eleven young adult orphans help construct the houses. The orphans are working with Habitat for Humanity, through a partnership with the Good Samaritan organization, which offers salaries through sponsors and donations.
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit worldwide ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing. Habitat brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard Fuller along with his wife Linda, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 75,000 houses, providing shelter for more than 375,000 people worldwide. It has affiliates in every state of the United States and in 63 other countries around the world.