Dean’s habit of building in Cambodia
Oppressive heat, long days, hard work, but a high satisfaction rate - that’s what this year’s planned Habitat for Humanity build holds in store for Dean Eager.
In November, the Pauatahanui resident will be one of about a dozen people from Porirua who will head to Battambang, in Cambodia’s north-west, to construct 20 homes.
They will join a 200-strong labour force at the Habitat for Humanity-organised build, of which half will be New Zealanders.
This is Eager’s fourth trip to Cambodia to build homes - his first was in 2009.
‘‘I’m lucky in that I’m able to [go] and it’s something that has become pretty important to me.’’
Eight years ago a friend asked if he wanted to help sponsor Habitat’s home-building project and Eager said, ‘‘I’ll come with you’’.
These days he’s a team leader, so is in charge of putting together his own team, and the regular meetings, fundraising and sponsorship that comes with it.
Each person needs about $6000 to head to Cambodia.
The conditions are testing - temperatures are regularly about 40 degrees Celsius, shade is at a premium and you finish each day dog-tired from constructing the concrete block homes.
But the end result makes all the labour worthwhile, Eager said.
‘‘You’re giving a family a home that will last a very long time.
‘‘They might have been living in pretty poor conditions before, so a house is something tangible
‘‘You're giving a family a home that will last a very long time.’’
‘‘When you have a ceremony at the end of the week with each family, it’s very satisfying.’’
Not all the Kiwi volunteers were builders or tradespeople, he said, but the right attitude and willingness to get stuck in was crucial.
Taking gifts for each family you build for is discouraged, but Eager, the chairman of Western Suburbs Football Club, takes something he knows can bring a community together - footballs.
‘‘Often the language barrier is tough, but if you produce a football, faces light up and you can have a game.
‘‘Sport is language.’’
Habitat for Humanity has eight big builds around the world each year. Eager was hopeful of being involved in one closer to home next time, perhaps in the Pacific Islands. a universal
Dean Eager in Cambodia in 2013 during the Habitat for Humanity project to build homes for impoverished villagers.