Pangyo high grade eleven student Kyunhyun writes: There is a tradition in the Habitat for Humanities community where the youngest person has to write the article. That responsibility has fallen upon me, so here it is.
It all started a week before the new school year started, in the Chemistry classroom filled with pizza and chicken. After the quick and mandatory orientation for student-teachers’ Korean lessons (for faculty lessons) and a couple of emails from the Habitat crew, it was time to go. After meeting up at Incheon Airport, we excitedly rode the airplane from Korea to Hong Kong to Indonesia.
After two airplanes rides, we finally arrived. We met up with our guides, with Tiwi acting as our main guide. On our second day, we received orientation. We would be aiding the construction of two houses for a scavenger and a blind woman. After an hour-long trip to the countryside, we met the future-house owners and started to build.
Each day was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment, as the foundation started to look more like a house every time we came and went. We worked by digging, cementing, and wiring. Out of all our jobs, our main job was cementing and brick laying. Sometimes (a lot of times) our bricks were taken down by the builders, and sometimes they praised us. Every day, we would work with the Muslim prayers playing in the background until 12:00, eat lunch and walk around the village until 1:00, and work again until 2:30.
We worked for the entirety of our stay, only stopping for one day to tour a nearby safari. Riding to the safari, we all gawked at the elephants and the lions. Each animal flashed past us, and we all groaned because our pictures were so blurry. After walking around the zoo, we went to eat lunch and experienced our first Indonesian rain. The remaining days were spent digging, cementing, and wiring. Each day, after lunch, came the rain. We would run into a house for shelter and watch the Indonesian children play and shower in the rain. On one of the mornings, we also went to a nearby school to play with the locals and give them presents. The last day came and went, and we all said goodbye to Indonesia on an early Saturday morning.
As a person who went on the Rustic Pathways trip and Habitat for Humanities trip this year, I think I can compare the two. On the Rustic Pathways trip, there was more interaction with the cultural aspects of the visiting country. We only spent two days working, and the rest of the week was touring famous sites, eating native food, visiting markets, and playing with the children who live nearby. Habitat for Humanities, on the other hand, was more labor-intensive. Almost all of the days spent in Indonesia were spent on the two houses. Although we did have some interaction with the local culture, mainly through the cuisine, there wasn’t as much as with Rustic Pathways. In conclusion, both trips are amazing, but if you want to experience the culture of the visiting country, then Rustic is the choice. But, if you want to sense the rewarding sensation of seeing the small brick walls transform into the shape of an almost finished house, and if you want to give a person the chance to pick up their life again, then Habitat is the trip for you.
Thank you Kyunhyun for telling us about the two trips and sharing photos!