Dean’s habit of build­ing in Cam­bo­dia

Kapi-Mana News - - SUMMER FUN - KRIS DANDO

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.’’

and safe.

‘‘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

PHOTO: DEAN EA­GER

Dean Ea­ger in Cam­bo­dia in 2013 dur­ing the Habi­tat for Humanity project to build homes for im­pov­er­ished vil­lagers.

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