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In the autumn of 2017 there was a coming together of people, minds and spirits. Twenty nine volunteers from 16 countries, two “local” volunteers, a doctor, two film makers, three nonprofits all in an exquisite dance.
Dream to reality
It seems like an age since first sighting the “we’re-building-an-Earthship” pile of tyres that had been dumped as far as the truck could carry them. As I made my way down a narrow alley and rice bag stairs I kept asking, “Where’s the hole…?!” knowing that in the weeks ahead sand and gravel (truck loads of it) would need to be carried down the same route.
There was a sense of hope and expectation. Were we going to pull it off? Would the building fit on the steep slope? Was the budget going to cover everything? Would the team gel? But from the first moment the volunteers arrived the doubt evaporated and we got after it – relentlessly.
Many donations add up!
This project became a reality thanks to donations from over 100 people. The volunteers gave their time, money and energy and came away with the experience of a lifetime.
The girls in the hostel will, in turn, pass on their knowledge to the children of their village. We need your help to make more of these projects a reality!
All about people
We were a family for 3 weeks as we pounded and carried, nailed and dug and pounded and bottle brick-laid and picked and pounded. We danced to a rhythm: “morning song”, breakfast, build, tea, build, lunch, build, tea, build, beer, dinner, chat, bed with a trip to the river on Sunday afternoon to wash away a week’s work. Regular, but anything but boring. So many lovely people to meet and friendships to forge with the building always rising from behind a massive pile of earth that overlooked the rice paddies below.
There was still time for cards, art, singing, dancing and theatre as well as chances to foray out into the hills where locals worked harder than we ever will, harvesting rice, building roads and houses but almost always smiling as we passed.
We did it!
Materials and replacements for materials were found. Teams focused on bottle walls, digging planters, plastering, plumbing and finishing the roof. The wood crew made what must surely be a unique mortise and tenoned hardwood greenhouse. In three short weeks we got the building enclosed with only finishing left to complete.
A recipe for happiness
We were all part of the three things that make us happy in life: growing (learning), giving (teaching) and being part of something bigger than ourselves. I can’t wait to do it again and that was the feeling that rippled through the sea of goodbye hugs.
We’re looking for more projects. Ideally ones that cut across social, education and environmental disciplines that can have a scalable, longterm impact. If anyone has ideas / connections for funding and or projects just let us know!