Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Habitat for Humanity International – Nepal was very pleased to welcome the Korean Global Village student team of 16 students and 1 teacher to Nepal in December 2007.They worked from 28 December 07 to 07 January 08. The team got an opportunity of magnificent exposure and experience by traveling and serving. They also left the organization with fond memories to cherish.
Volunteers enjoying the fruit of their labor
- A family assisted -

After a welcome introduction by HFHI-Nepal staff and a half day sightseeing tour where the team saw some of the stunning architectural and religious significant areas of the valley, the team boarded a plane to Bhadrapur in Jhapa district of Eastern Nepal. At the site, which was near Birtamode, the team was introduced to the home partners and met with staff from Hatemalo, HFHI-Nepal’s partner organization. After the site orientation and presentation on safety when working with the tools and bamboo construction materials the team started their work. The team had not worked with bamboo before but quickly learnt the skills required to prepare the material. Every day the team members, together with the home-partners, Habitat and Hatemalo staff and local volunteers worked hard to prepare the materials, weave the bamboo walls, and finish the concrete flooring. The work was not simple but the team hid the difficulties and worked with optimum effort. They started and ended their work with a prayer marking them all closer to the Lord.

Refining Spitted Bamboo Weaving Bamboo wall

On the final day a special house dedication ceremony was held where the participants shared their experience and thanked each other for their work. The home partners presented the team with Tokens of Love and the ribbons were cut to the two houses. The team was sad to leave the village as where the home owners sad to see them leave.

Home owner Kul Bahadur Thakuri, 75 years old male shared his feelings at the end of the program:

“Initially I had thought that only one person would come and assist only for a few days but unexpectedly a huge crowd came and helped to build my house. I have learnt from my 25 years of experience that bamboo housing is not an easy task. I was not sure if the volunteers could do the construction. But now, their work seems very professional and they are working very hard as if it is their own house.”

75 yrs old home Partner actively involved

His wife was also very sad to see the students leave:

“When you all come in the morning I feel light everywhere but when you leave I find darkness. Why don’t you purchase a piece of land and build a house here so that we can live together and I can see you forever.”

Apart from learning the construction techniques, the team accomplished in other fields as well. Despite many team members only meeting for the first time, strong friendship soon formed and the team worked very well together to complete the daily tasks. The team also visited the Swabodh Bal Bikash Kendra School where the students performed traditional songs and dance and the Korean team presented some of their own songs and Korean martial arts performance. All of the students greatly enjoyed the interaction. We were very pleased to receive a visit from the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Narendra Bikram Nembang who was impressed by the volunteer’s work and thanked them for their contribution.

The Team

The volunteers’ effort was duly recognized and covered by the medial as well. Articles about their efforts were published in the local and national dailies like Kantipur national Daily, Mechi Times, Purbanchal, Bivechana, Jana Samshad and Samacharpatra. They were interviewed about their reasons behind coming to Nepal. The media persons themselves were impressed by the work the Koreans had put up. Moreover, the coverage by Nepal Television was also extensive and informative. All these published items were an appreciable gesture and further motivated everyone involved in the housing program. This is great testament to the students’ hard work and also the effort from the home partners and local volunteers.

It was an honor to have the Korean Global Village Team visit Nepal and work together on achieving Habitat’s goal of ensuring people to have a decent home to live.


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