Pangyo junior Hyunwoo tells about Habitat For Humanity’s trip to Myanmar over the Lunar New Year break. At the end of the article, he adds special thanks to the senior students on that trip.
This year’s Habitat for Humanity team consisted of seven seniors and a lone junior led by Ms. Callahan and “Team Leader” Mr. Joo. With palms sweaty and arms heavy, this relatively small but ambitious team embarked on a journey to Bago, Myanmar, where they stayed for the next seven nights.
The worksite, which they first visited after a day of settling in and getting accustomed to the drastically warmer Burmese weather, was situated in a extremely remote village in the outskirts of Bago, where the presence of foreigners was extremely rare. Despite this, the group couldn’t have been welcomed in a more cordial way—a band was playing a local tune, children were waving at them with delight, and a general optimism could be felt emanating from the village.
Feeding off of this positive energy and feeling more motivated than ever, the group began the construction project the next day, alongside the guidance of extremely patient construction supervisors and assistants. Bamboo weaving, bamboo cutting, and bamboo attaching were some of the key jobs that the HFH members willingly fulfilled in constructing the bamboo house. The work was quite demanding at times (especially for the bamboo weavers), yet Mr. Joo’s omnipotent presence and ever-critical gaze from the sidelines (under the shade, with cans of Coke) was the sole motivation we needed to complete the house in less than a week.
But of course, a Habitat for Humanity would not be complete without the formation of everlasting personal bonds. To the lovely and bright Khine, to the hilarious and kind hearted Angelo (Thang Kee Thang), to the diligent yet soft-hearted Maung, and to the passionate and considerate Nemyo, we forever owe a debt of gratitude.
A personal note to seniors: Seniors, I cannot put into words my appreciation for all of you. Despite my irresponsibility beyond imagination and misbehavior beyond words, you all taught me so much in just a matter of days. I love you all and I’ll miss you!
Photos from high school chemistry teacher Jeong Joo.