*An article written by GV Students Leader : Jack Ciampi
A group of 24 students accompanied by three teachers journeyed 10,000 km to Tanjung Sepat last week to begin work on a new home for a family of three. This would be the first time in the village’s history that a group of volunteers would all be exclusively from a country other than Malaysia to build a house.
Coming into the project, expectations for the build were set high as all student volunteers were enthusiastic and motivated to provide a better standard of living for the Anuar Family. After arriving, the group was greeted by Joanne Sim, the Global Village Leader for the project, who would then provide assistance and direction.
Work began with the mixing of cement by hand for the house’s foundation. After, it was spread and smoothed, bricks were brought in for the walls, and mortar was mixed in order to lay the bricks on top of one another. As the group had split into two efficient teams, this process was moving faster than expected. One of the most proactive workers was the soon-to-be homeowner, Mr. Anuar, as he showed the volunteers how to complete various tasks with more precison and accuracy. He was also there to motivate and encourage, not by his words, but by his actions and the smile that was always present on his face.
On the last full day of work, the walls were built up to the point at which door and window frames could be set in place. This would conclude our progress on the building of the house for the week. After the final work for the day had been completed, a small closing ceremony was set up by the students for the family, the Global Village team, and the head of the Tanjung Sepat village, Tok Batin Jamil. It began with a speech by the Principal of Dhahran Academy, David Dorn, thanking the family and the Global Village team for their time and effort throughout the week. After that, Mr. Anuar gave an unexpected and emotional speech showing his appreciation for each volunteer by thanking them for their time and effort given to building his new house. Finally, gifts were exchanged as the students presented the family a hand-made blanket, and the family giving each volunteer an oragami basket made out of recyled airline boarding passes.This exchange of gifts signified the mutual appreation everyone felt and would stand as reminders of this remarkable experience.
The progress of the team over the four days of work exceeded any goals that could have been set. Through determination, focus, and a common goal of building a house for a family in need, the all student team was able to accomplish more than ever expected. The volunteers of Dhahran High School arrived in Malaysia with only their heart and time to give, but left with a sense of hope and inspiration that will be shared internationally for years to come.