In the beginning of November, 23 dedicated high school students and two teachers participated in a housebuilding trip in Yangshuo. The trip was organized and planned by the SIS Housebuilding Club, but the financial support for this experience came from the PSA. The organization that hosted this build was Habitat for Humanity, which is famous for providing homes to people in poor communities all around the world. We embarked on the journey Thursday mid-morning and arrived back at SIS on the following Sunday. Two of the four days in Guangxi were construction days, which consisted of six hours of construction work each day. Upon arriving at the building site, our group was introduced to Ms. Chen, a woman who suffers from congenital poliomyelitis, a condition that makes it very hard for her to walk properly. Her house used to have a leaky roof and clay brick walls; at one point it was in danger of collapsing. That's when Habitat for Humanity intervened and has since started the reconstruction of her home. When we arrived, the first floor of the building was already nearly finished. The group was divided into two construction areas: digging the septic tank and starting construction of the second floor. While the first group dug the septic tank hole that needed to measure two meters in depth, the second group was busy transporting thousands of bricks by hand on to the building's roof. On the second day, digging continued, and we started construction of the walls for the second floor. The atmosphere at the site was great. At any given time, loud speakers were blasting music, keeping everyone motivated and energized.
Rarely, you get to see a group as highly motivated and dedicated as this one. I think I speak for everyone when I say that this experience was definitely worth it. Whether it was getting closer to friends or developing appreciation for the comfortable life we live, everybody took something home from that trip that will stay with them forever.
We'd like to thank Mr. Bywater and Ms. Wilson for chaperoning as well as the students who participated in this trip. We would also like to voice our appreciation to the PSA, who made it possible for us to keep the prices low and encourage more students to participate.
Joschua Mueller, Housebuilding Club President