Local volunteers build housing in Vietnam
Dennis Ebbets, right, during a volunteer project in Guatemala for Habitat for Humanity (Courtesy Photo)
We all know about the housing shortage throughout Boulder County, now just imagine it in the Dong Thap Province of Vietnam, where nearly 11 percent of the population lives on less than $18 a month.
Located in the Mekong River Delta in southern Vietnam, most of the 1.6 million people live along the riverside in temporary, stilt-raised homes, that they are forced to rebuild eac h year after the monsoon season.
On Saturday, 17 Boulder and Longmont residents arrived in Dong Thap Province to help build more permanent, disaster-resilient housing along with 200 other Habitat For Humanity volunteers from around the world.
One of many Global Village Trips organized by Habitat for Humanity each year, as part of these trips Boulder County residents have help build more than 130 homes abroad since the founding of Flatirons Habitat for Humanity in 1993 . Another 25 will be added to that list by the end of next week.
While 25 homes might not sound like a lot, Dennis Ebbets, one of the 17 Boulder County residents in Vietnam this week, said by the end of the week there's no doubt in his mind of the impact he made.
"Anyone can write a check and put it in the mail ox," he said. "The thing I like about Habitat is that it's much more tangible. You get to meet the families who are buying the houses, you get to know them and by the end of the week, as your saying goodbye, you know they have a home. It's just very satisfying."Advertisement
He described this feeling of satisfaction with an old parable he'd picked.
"There are two boys walking down the beach at low tide. One of the boys keeps picking up the critters that washed ashore and throwing them back in the water. The other boy looks at him and said, 'Why are you doing that? There are so many of them, it's never going matter.' The first boy then picks up star fish, flings it back into the ocean and said, "It sure mattered to that one."
Combined with the opportunity to travel abroad and see the world from a different perspective, many volunteers said it's truly a life changing experience that inspires them to volunteer more when they're closer home. Like Ebbets, this will be Bruce Hoelter's fourth time volunteering for an international build.
"It gives you an appreciation for the things we have, but it also makes me very sympathetic for people in Boulder who are making $80,000 a year and can't find a place to live," Hoelter said. "It makes me want to lean in more to help and do what little I can. I highly recommend everyone do an international build with Habitat at least once."
Those interested in volunteering choose from a list of 54 different locations around the world on Habitat for Humanity's website
John Spina: 303-473-1389, email@example.com or twitter.com/jsspina24
Source: Google News Vietnam | Netizen 24 Vietnam