*For those newer readers, our plans of cruising have changed and we are now on board with Live Different. We host groups of volunteers coming to the DR to rebuild houses for those less fortunate.*
**The following is not to say that every family that we rebuild for encounters these issues or changes, but every single one of these has be brought up by one family or another. We are fortunate to be a part of an organization that is creating such a healthy and organic impact.**
The things we have come to see and understand; we are not just building houses.
In these houses families find security. No longer do they have to worry about the strangers walking about in the evening peeking in through the holes in the walls, seeing their young daughters getting dressed. No longer do they have to wonder if someone may just barge into their home because their front door is simply hanging on by broken hinges. No longer do they have to worry for their wife’s safety when she is left alone with the children while the husband needs to go on a month long fishing trip. In these houses, with four walls protecting them and their belongings, families worry less about the security of their belongings, and the security of their loved ones.
In these houses families find belonging. They now have a home to call their very own, one they are proud of and want to share with their entire community of friends and family. They now have an area where they can relax, where they can enjoy, where they can rest their head.
In these houses families find comfort. With a roof over their head that does not leak water every rainfall, and walls around them that keep mosquitos, cockroaches, and rats out, they can breathe easier. They no longer need to worry that the next storm will flood their house leaving what valuables that have floating in a foot or two of murky mess.
In these houses families sleep better. They are not being distracted by nature’s harsh elements or hearing the music blasting through their paper-thin walls from the neighbouring drinking hole. Meaning, in these houses, with a full night’s rest, children will improve their attention in school, their grades and behavior will improve. Parents have more energy for work. Parents have more patience with their children. Children, in turn are less of a handful for their parents and teachers. With a full night’s rest these families’ immune systems gets to strengthen. With a full night’s rest, the world may seem a little more in focus.
In these houses families show signs of better health. A parent no longer has to worry about rats biting at their children’s toes at night. They no longer have to worry about their child getting sick from sleeping in a rain-soaked bed. They no longer have to worry about ingesting the fecal matter from various critters walking through their homes in the night. In these houses, families know where their water is coming from, and they know where their waste is going. No longer does the sewage simply drain out the back of the house, into the backyard, the gutter, or the neighbouring house. It now goes where it belongs. In these houses families are improving the sanitation of their community.
In these houses families find cleanliness. Their children can go to school since their uniforms are clean, not having been flooded with mud the night before. Their clothes stay dry, kept away from the rain, the mould, and the dust that used to drift through freely. The family can now wash indoors, without their feet teetering on blocks of cement resting on the dirt, surrounded by rusted corrugated walls. In these houses these families indoor spaces are finally cleaner than the outdoor ones.
In these houses family bonds are strengthened. Children gain a sense of ownership in their own room. They no longer have to sleep 3 to a bed, but now have each their own. They gain independence in caring for their own things. With them sleeping in their own quarters, parents gain privacy. With privacy comes intimacy. An intimacy that does not need to be hushed or disregarded, and intimacy that will keep a couple stronger, and a marriage happier. In these houses married couples reunite.
With these houses a community grows stronger. Local contractors are hired to build them, creating an income for many of the surrounding families. The children’s teachers no longer bear the burden of forcing education on to a tired or sick child. The church leaders no longer spend as much time doing marriage counselling. With these houses, rested, healthy families are better suited to work and generate income for themselves and their community. With these houses a sense of pride is grown with all those involved. They were part of building new futures for families they know.