Two days of building already under our belt.
First chance I have had to buy Internet access and attempt to write a thoughtful blog post.
It feels as though our group of 10 has been together much longer. We are enjoying getting to know one another. Working together. Sharing meals. Roommates. Laughing and generally loving our present life. We get through the minor discomforts of the day – blazing heat, pesky mosquitoes, power outages. Unpleasantries don’t seem all that unpleasant especially compared to life in a typical Malawian village like the one we are working in this week in Salima.
In just two days we have made significant progress on both of the two houses we are building. The learning curve is low and the local masons and supervisors on site had no problem with us getting right to work, which aided our progress.
Each house is 6 meters by 5 meters and has two bedrooms, a living room and a veranda. The entire house is the size of just a fraction of a typical American home (okay, so not including our friends who live in Manhattan – LOL). The average cost of a Habitat house in Malawi is about $4,000 US dollars. Come to think of it, that would get you about the same about of space in New York City for the price!
Unlike the mud and thatch houses these families are living in now, in their new Habitat house the roof will not leak, the floor will not turn to mud in wet weather, rodents and bugs will not make their home here nor will disease. School books, clothing and food will be dry and protected from the elements and from thieves. Habitat houses are often the ones left standing after a devastating flood. The model is sustainable.
And the building process is simple. We build with bricks and mortar that come from the very earth upon which we stand. Once the walls are complete, door and window frames are installed, interior walls are plastered, exterior walls are pointed and a coat of concrete is applied that makes the impervious to the elements. Doors and windows installed and voila! A completed home. A foundation for a brighter future.
Life in the village is simple, if difficult. People spend a lot of time gathering what they need to get through one day. There is no running water, no electricity, no refrigeration, no saving leftovers for lunch tomorrow. There is an obvious irony in the fact those who consume the fewest resources have the least, and often triumphantly survive the most challenging circumstances.
Despite the vast differences between us, we have absolutely connected with our new friends. Sincere and heartfelt hugs. A now familiar sounding language. Playing with football and soccer balls. These have all become a regular part of our day. And it feels really good.
Stay tuned to learn more about our partner families next!