Builder Perspective: Delayne Weeks, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Angkor Gold Corp.
Building a series of houses in any developing country brings a variety of new experiences to the best of travellers. For me personally, it was being part of a team where everyone experienced success, regardless of their experience, expertise, gender, or background. It was an opportunity to work, laugh, eat, and sleep with 8 other team members, each of whom had a sole purpose for two days to complete basic housing in rural Cambodia.
It reminded me of all that we take for granted….our material goods, our lifestyles, housing, water & sanitation, transportation, our ‘bigger, better, faster,, newer attitudes’ and on and on. And with that reminder is the realization of how differently we see the world, if we step outside our comfort zone and take the risk to undertake something like a team build.
I had a very special friend with me, one whom had just tragically lost her husband and the love of her life 10 days prior to the build. I believe the experience gave her confidence, allowed her to grieve knowing that she still had a place in the world, and provided perspective about what we do have rather than what we don’t have. I will forever be grateful to the build team for accommodating those circumstances Ð it was another example of the accomplishments of the build itself Ð that is, contributing to the quality of life for others …. for simple reasons of humanity. I also had two close friends from Grande Prairie on the build, and they both described it as an awesome experience.
I have done several Habitat builds and each one ends with the team leader giving caution to the builders. In short, the leader usually explains something along the lines of, “Generally speaking, it is a minority of citizens who will step out of the comfort zone of Canada to participate in a project like the build. And it is really difficult to explain the experience to someone who has not been to a developing country, or someone who has been a ‘resort tourist’ when they travel.‘ I concur with that, on this build as well. We are fortunate to be able to make choices every day of our lives….billions across the globe will never know that. And yet, there are few that will take the plunge.
So being a participant was a rewarding choice. On account of this team, a few more of Cambodia’s poorest families have hope, have dreams for their future and that of their children, and they have a place to call home. And hopefully, at some point in their lives, the recipients might be able to experience choice themselves.
Giving of ourselves takes on different aspects with personal results for each participant. For the build of 2015, I would hope it was a win-win for everyone. And I summarize by asking myself and others, “At this point in our lives, does it get any better than that??”
Make a Choice; Make Cambodia Better!!