By the third morning all of us had blisters on our thumbs. An average person would have called in sick with such an ailment, but this crew was not average by any means. We pushed forward and continued to build the house.
Day 3 was all about laying brick. Everyone was given a tutorial on how to lay brick and then was put to work. The homeowner, who I've mentioned is a real life construction worker, was at least five times faster at laying brick then the rest of us. His rows of bricks also looked a lot neater than the rest of ours.
(PICTURE: Thy, my main habitat contact and Than, our habitat foreman.)
Right before lunch two local officials came to the site and presented me with a certificate and a letter. The certificate is from The Tien Giang Union Of Friendship Organizations and is for "Building the house for the poor people." The letter says, "Dear Benjamin August, on behalf of the Tien Giang Union of Friendship organizations. I would like to express heartfelt thanks for your recent contributation of time to the volunteer building house in My Tho City from September 13rd to September 24th* 2009.
Together with another volunteer you offered helpful and exciting hours of building house for poor people. We are grateful for energy, enthusiasm and dedication you bring to your role as a volunteer.
Once again, thank you very much for your efforts and contribution of time for the Tien Giang Union of friendship organizations to help make our community better and better."
Although the certificate says I built till the 24th, I actually only built till the 16th. This is the same certificate everyone else got who built to the 24th. It's like I got a diploma after freshman year in college!
It was really hard to leave the build after just a few days. In 72 hours we had made so much progress on the house and I wish I could have stayed till the end. However, it just wasn't in the cards this time with my schedule. The experience though was absolutely fantastic. Working with great people for such a great cause is rewarding to say the least. I'm hoping that next year when I'm back in Vietnam I'll be able to organize a team build with people living in Hanoi.
I'd like to just say thanks again to the team at Habitat For Humanity for being extremely helpful and organized. I'd also like to thank Thomas and Elizabeth, the team leaders, and all the other members of the team, for letting me join their build. Finally, I'd like to once again thank the 70+ people who donated money towards the upcoming building of our house. Thanks again!