During the summer vacation of 2004, I volunteered for “Habitat for Humanity” with the fellow members of the Habitat Club at my school. “Habitat for Humanity” is a Christian-based, internationally active NGO, whose purpose is to provide families without proper housing facilities.
The interesting thing about this organization is that volunteers not only contribute by donating money but also by actually building in which houses that these families will live.
The week I volunteered was a special event period called “KBB (Korea Blitz Build),” which is held annually in all the Korean branches. During this event, many people join in the efforts to build the houses as fast as possible.
Over 150 people participated in only JinJu, where I volunteered. The volunteers were mostly groups from colleges in all parts of the country, ranging from JeJu to Seoul. We were divided into eight groups with about 20 people in a group. The groups were made up so that each group comprises of people from different places of the world.
Even though this made it awkward for everybody at first, each group became as close as a real family by the end of the session. I personally liked being the youngest in my group because everyone was so nice to me as to treat me like their real younger sister. The members of my group still contact each other and meet once in a while continuing to hold the bond formed in JinJu.
From what I¡¯ve heard, all the other groups also still maintain their friendship by interacting at online and arranging meetings at offline.
I think the reason we were able to become so close in such a short time was that we worked together. We sweated side by side, cooperated in doing difficult tasks, and encouraged each other when we were tired. While doing all the hard work, we felt the abundance of love that existed at the construction site.
Everybody contributed to making this experience: the women who made delicious meals for the volunteers, the staff who directed everyone, the future inhabitants of the houses who worked hard and of course the volunteers themselves. I will never forget the invaluable experience I had at KBB.
At the sight of the assiduous volunteers, I realized that the world is still filled with warm-hearted people that make life to worth living. In JinJu, I found myself smiling all day despite the fact that I was continuously hammering a countless number of nails and carrying heavy materials from place to place under the scorching summer sun.
It was the first genuinely difficult labor you had done, but I didn¡¯t feel irritated or exhausted at all. I just felt happy knowing that I was helping theirs in need. At the closing ceremony, everyone was saying that they didn¡¯t want to leave and wanted to come back next year.
I felt the same. I strongly suggest to every that read this article to participate in the KBB next year. I promise you an experience that will last in both your heart and mind. I plan to go again next year, so if you participate maybe I¡¯ll see you!