Meet Debra from NSW. Last year, she gave up a week of her time last year to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for Rock the House. This year, she will be returning to Yogyakarta to help build more homes for families in need – and is bringing along her grandson for the journey.
Why did you start volunteering with Habitat for Humanity?
I have followed Habitat for Humanity for well over a decade. It was always something on my to do list but hadn’t had the time. I met Teresa on an Antarctic trip and she had volunteered on the first Rock the House. She and I had quite a few long chats about Rock the House and it inspired me to join her team in 2017.
Can you describe the experience in a few sentences?
I couldn’t have imagined how the experience would impact on me. It was amazing seeing our build family so overwhelmed, thankful and joyous as the build progressed. It was very humbling to arrive at the site and the family would have food prepared and set up for us. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, no words were needed for us to communicate. Our build family were so hardworking, they showed me true strength and resilience.
Tell us a bit about what the week involves?
The great thing about our team build was how quickly everyone ‘gelled’ when we all worked together. Go Team Bata!! I carted bricks, sand and dirt. Made reo for the corners, door frames and roofline; sweated; dug trenches; mucked around; laid bricks; sweated some more; made cement and mucked around a bit more. My downtime was spent socialising, swapping stories about the build, our families (build families and our own),swimming and checking out the local area.
What was your favourite part of the week?
We stopped off at our build house on our way back to the hotel after handover. We took some final photos and our family pulled up in the back of a truck! We handed over some hats and we enjoyed an emotionally charged final farewell.
Why should others get involved?
The rewards from volunteering on a house build are hard to describe. It comes down to emotions and feelings: gratitude, joy, happiness, enjoyment, fulfilment, inspiration, pride and the admiration I felt for our wonderful build family who gave us so much through their kindness and strength!
Any final comments?
I love the fact our funds raised go to sustainability in the local villages. Providing shelter and sanitation are just some of the supported projects. Habitat for Humanity works hard so as not to introduce a culture of dependence on foreign aid. I’m so inspired by what was achieved at Rock the House 2 last year, I’m bringing my eldest grandson along so he too can share the experience.