Sunday, December 2, 2007

Habitat for Humanity

This was an incredible experience. The village of Nagewadi is in a remote area north of the commercial center of Karjat about 3 hours from Mumbai. Delta and Habitat helped build 8 homes for tribal farmers and their families. The village has a mix of kucha and pukka houses. The pukka houses belong to people that can afford a home; the kucha houses are made from reed and cow dung paste. I was assigned to build a home for Chebi and Vithal Thorad, and their three girls, Ashwini, Sadhna and Manda.
We worked all day from 8 am to 4:30 pm in 95 degree heat. The home was built from bricks and mud. Following a brief learning curve, I soon got the hang of it. The last day of the build we decorated the houses for a dedication ceremony that was very emotional. We presented the families with steel cooking utensils for cooking. The children had created Rangoli's (colorful designs on the floor to signify celebration/a happy occasion). We took several Polaroid pictures of the kids and families and left them behind for them. The joy on their faces was precious. This rewarding feeling and the smiles on the children's faces makes it all worthwhile. To me it was a life-changing experience. There is no doubt in my mind that we got more out of this than they will.
We got a lot of media coverage which was unexpected but great for Delta

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