Saturday, November 17, 2007

Habitat- Who benefited more?

Frank and I didn't get much sleep after our night out in Mumbai, but after a great buffet breakfast at the Leela, the whole group got in the bus and started the 3 hour journey to the Rivergate Resort. It was a great property, not luxury by any means, but nice. Most of the group stayed in these huge tents that were really cool. Although the tents were much more "blog-able" than the room Smita and I had overlooking the river...our view was great, but I did like the idea of sleeping in the tents. They had front porches where you could hang out at night.I actually tried to switch our room with another couple, they complained of bugs and such, but then changed their minds. I thought it would have been a better "experience."...but oh well, after everyone was complaining about rats strolling through their tents we were fine with the outcome. We didnt have internet connection at Rivergate...I thought it was pretty cool being "out of touch" ...a TRUE vacation!
It was a 30 minute drive to the Habitat build site. When we arrived, the villagers greeted us with music and the women put a red paste on our foreheads to welcome us.

We had such a good time! It was awesome bonding with all the other DL employees I didnt know and even more amazing was getting to know the village of Nagewadi and its people. Here, my team leader, Tina and I take a water break. She is so cool, really motivating and inspiring. She actually climbed Mt Everest, and is a big time biker. She lives in Park City... Smita Frank and I are planning to go skiing and visit!! woo-hoo!
The view of this mountain was so awesome and you could see it from everywhere in the village. Here is my team along with the homeowners:
Here I am in action. Others on my team were brick laying, the "morter" was mud, then after it set, we would come around and use this would stick to indent the mud in between the bricks.
We were constantly given reminders to "hydrate" if we would was HOT AS HELL! and we were sweating our asses off...must have been 100 degrees!! I actually got a cardio workout everyday of the build just from lifting and hauling....

You would not believe how they live, no running water (they actually built "proper" bathrooms specially for our build). Can you imagine if you had to walk a couple miles for your water??
I have never seen so many adorable kids. They were so sweet couldn't stop smiling at us. They couldn't believe my blue eyes and light skin. We taught them words like "hi" "bye" and "thank you" and they taught us a few words in their native tounge, Marati. "mati" (mud) "basi" (sit) and "namaste" .....come on, you should know that one. Haven't you ever done yoga? Smita can speak this language so she was a big help translating with her team and the homeowners.
I took so many pictures in the village, I felt like a national geographic photographer. There was something interesting around every corner....look at this beautiful little girl.
This little boy was sitting in the window of his house eating.
I kept taking pictures and then they would want to see their own faces on the camera, they were so amazed by this digital camera thing. On the last day of the build, one of the team leaders pulled out a polaroid camera and we had 80 pics to take (the team leaders thought of everything on this build-they were awesome!) the kids we just standing in line to have their pictures taken and were so excited to watch the polaroid come to life as something they could keep.
At the end of the week we were presented with certificates from Habitat for Humanity in India.
We worked on a total of 8 homes, most from the foundation up, so they weren't all done when we left, another Habitat group may come in to help. This is a picture of the house that we actually finished and where we had the dedication ceremony with the media, it was very touching.
I could have never imagined what an emotional experience this would be, it felt really good and was so well organized too, we didnt have to worry about a THING...breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet...pure indian food for a stomach is steel (knock on wood)
4 people ended up sick for a couple days....

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