Wednesday, May 12, 2010

We have been on our build for 3 days, and it's been amazing. Really hard work, but so satisfying and fun. I am on a team of 14 people, mostly from the US but also France, Korea, and Poland. We are working on two separate houses, about 5km away from each other. The two families that we are building the houses for are very poor, and are basically living on the land without much shelter, functional space, etc. It's really eye opening to think about how much we have, how much I take for granted. Even here, we spend all day on the build site, but we come back to our air-conditioned rooms and running water.

In the past couple of days I have done many things that I've never done before-mixing mortar with a shovel on the ground, laying bricks, tying rebar. It is about 39 degrees celcius, and the humidity is at about 70%. We try not to work in the sun for too long, and take tons of water breaks. At some points, we are sweating so much that it is just running down our necks/backs/legs, like someone is pouring water on us from above.

Last night the local community (we are in a town called My Tho) organized a "cultural exchange" for us. We didn't know what to expect, and it was pretty crazy. There were at least 100 people there, youth and adults, and we sat among them and talked about how we liked their country, etc. There were some speeches and then it basically turned into a karaoke night. We sang the Hokey Pokey to them and they sang all sorts of songs, including a pretty darn good rendition of a Backstreet Boys song.

We have been eating well because our local fixers are making arrangements for us. For lunch we get a box lunch on the build site (e.g. rice, chicken, vegetables) and for dinner we go out. Last night we had really good pho, or beef noodle soup. Delicious!

I need to get going but I will try to write more. I hope everyone is doing well (and keeping cooler than I!)

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