If you couldn’t make it to Rock the House or just want to relive the week again, here’s a quick look at what we got up to each day.
We were at the airport to greet our volunteers arriving in Yogyakarta, Indonesia not only from Australia, but America and Germany too! Some of our volunteers used the day as a chance to relax to prepare for the busy week ahead.
Before getting stuck into building, we took our volunteers on a cultural tour of Yogyakarta. First stop was the stunning Prambahan temple built in the 10th century. We also visited some local markets. Later in the evening, we had a welcome dinner with all 130 volunteers to brief them on the week ahead and what to expect. Each evening our volunteers also enjoyed traditional Indonesian cuisine at a range of local restaurants.
Our volunteers made amazing progress on their first full day of building. With the help of local construction staff they were orientated and shown the tasks they would be performing for the day. For many teams this involved dismantling our partner families existing homes, sifting soil, rebar work and plenty of digging. Sadly, after lunch rain struck. Despite our volunteers impromptu rain dance to ward off further storms, the site was too wet and muddy and we unfortunately had to make our way back to the hotel.
Our volunteers arrived at the build site more determined than ever. Our amazing local construction workers had managed to do some extra work once the storms had passed later in the evening and our volunteers got straight into building. Volunteers also spent quality time today getting to know their partner families. Our on site translators helped ask and answer questions so our volunteers could understand the housing struggles of the families and what they experience in their day to day lives. Some of our volunteers also visited one of our partners who had recently moved into her new Habitat home and spoke about the difference the home had already made in her life. Later in the afternoon, rain hit yet again. For a few of our teams conditions were too wet to continue, but the rest were given the all clear to continue working.
Today some of our volunteers visited a cave at the top of a hill where the community accesses their water. From this cave, over two kilometres worth of hoses run down to the community below providing them with water. Not all families can afford a hose, so some might use their neighbours’ or buy water. As part of Habitat’s wider work in the community, we are planning to improve the water system by building a reservoir so more families have easier access to clean water. For the rest of the day, our volunteers were busy working away. Most teams began laying bricks today, and as the walls quickly went up and the homes started to take form.
Another hard, but rewarding day of building for our volunteers. Many teams made great progress on the walls and began rendering. A positive atmosphere of teamwork overflowed everywhere. Volunteers looked out for each other and made sure their fellow team members were getting enough rest, and rotated on activities to ensure everyone was able to participate on a range of tasks according to their abilities. We also had some volunteers who helped out other teams needing an extra hand. As the today was the final full day of building, our volunteers were focused and determined to complete as much work as possible. Suffice to say, everyone slept very soundly after the day’s work.
Our volunteers spent the morning building and making final touches to the home before the handover ceremony. Although each team had their own handover ceremony with their partner families, everyone’s experience was similar. Volunteers, partner families and construction workers sat together in front of the new home, enjoying snacks prepared by the family. Everyone reflected on the experience. Our volunteers thanked our partner families for letting them into their homes and being part of this experience. The partner families expressed their gratitude and and could not hold back the tears as they explained the difference a safe home will have for their families. There was hugging, laughter and not dry eye in the house. After the ceremony, volunteers and partner families came together in the community hall for a farewell lunch. We had performances from Suze DeMarchi, the very talented Rainbow and BuckitDream teams and traditional act from a local children’s dance group. After a very teary goodbye to our partner families, we headed back to our hotel and later that night enjoyed a farewell dinner.
Rock the House would not have been possible without our volunteers and their sponsors. Thank you for building homes and hope for families in need. A special thank you to our corporate sponsors, Boral, BuckitDream and SCA, and the Baby Animals. Thank you!