Today was our last full day at the school where we have been working all week. It was bittersweet, a few tears were shed, and many thank you’s were said. We worked so hard to get this house done by today, and the volunteers absolutely nailed it! (No pun intended) we spent hours in the hot sun, nailing and hammering floor boards and wall siding, tying the straw roof to the wooden frame with hundreds of pieces of wire, and carrying what seemed like endless amounts of dirt to level out the ground around the house. These guys did a fantastic job and I am so proud of them!
Courtney loving life on the roof!
Finishing up the roof!
Daniel doing his best Simba impression with one of the puppies
Kaio ans Sopan’s 18 year old brother Sopea. One of the boys who will be staying at the house.
Me, a kitten, and Sopan’s adorable daughter Lilly!
Zoem Hannah, Fergus and Jenny Holding up the walls while others hammered on the outside
We all got to leave our mark on the house!
One of the teachers and his students posing in the new house.
Half way through the day, another group of volunteers came to see the completed version of the house. This was the group that laid the cement foundation and poles for the house to stand on. It was so nice to get a photo with the full group of volunteers who worked so hard to build this thing! And in under 2 weeks!!!! (AMAZING!)
Once the other group of volunteers left, we finished up the last few finishing touches on the house. Sopan, the school principal, then came out with a tray of food, water and incense for a Buddhist offering to bless the house. This involved all of us circling the house 3 times, singing a chant. It was so fun! After that, we entered the house with Sopan, his family, and some of his students. We gathered in a circle and shared a meal of banana sticky rice and fried noodles in celebration of the competed house. They later presented us with beautiful scarves as a sign of gratitude. It was so touching to each receive something so special from the community. This is truly a rewarding experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
Just before we left, Sopan and the teachers laid out the gifts that the volunteers had brought for the children. The teachers explained to the students that if they continue to work hard in school and strive to get good grades, that these gifts would be rewarded to them at the end of each month. This is a great reward system and encouragement for the students to do well academically. We celebrated later in the evening with banana nutella pancakes, and a walk around pub street.
Tomorrow is a free day! Check back tomorrow to see what the volunteers got up to.