Nathan Jensen, a 26 year old carpenter from Queensland in Australia has just spent the last three weeks building homes for disadvantaged families in the Philippines with Volunteer for the Visayans.
As a fully-qualified building professional, Nathan discovered that construction methods in the Philippines were extremely different from those back in Australia and commented that these disparities combined with the absence of a few trade-related luxuries made for tough, yet extremely unique and rewarding experience.
“Working without power tools was one of the things I first had to get use to, it definitely makes the job a lot more physically demanding, but after a few days you get accustomed to it” he stated, before later commenting that “The work I’m doing here is totally different from the contracted jobs I do in Australia, over here I’m working for free, but using my skills to provide shelter for those that do not have the capacity to do it themselves.”
Nathan spent his three weeks working on two Build-A-Home projects for the families of children enrolled on Volunteer for the Visayans Child Sponsorship Program. Up until now, the family had been residing in an overcrowded, unsanitary and uncomfortable living environment with little or no way to improve their situation.
“This volunteer program was a true eye-opener and a really rewarding way to spend my first time in the Philippines, everyone from my homestay family to the local staff were really helpful and always on hand to answer any of my questions” Nathan later commented during his post-program evaluation.
Volunteer for the Visayans still has a few construction projects planned for the rest of the year, including one Build-A-Home Project and the start of construction on a community center which will augment support to our Dumpsite Project. This project is scheduled to begin during the first week of June 2011. You can find out more about it by visiting our Facebook Cause.
Unlike Nathan, you don’t have to be a qualified builder to participate on a Building Project. The introduction of international volunteers to assist in the labor needed to complete a project is essential as it allows the project to be completed on time with the best possible materials.