SDL employee Ali Coldwell, had always daydreamed about visiting the remote, mountainous, Kyrgyzstan. When Habitat for Humanity International announced they would be building an earthquake resistant eco-home in the country below Kazakhstan, above Tajikistan and next to Uzbekistan, she jumped at the chance.
Using local equipment and a mixture of Kyrgyz/Russian/English to communicate with each other, they were shown how to prep local materials (wood, straw, mud and sand), construct reinforced steel bar beam cages, add the roof and insulate the new house for the Mamyrkanov family, ready for the harsh winters.
The family lived on site, in their old, leaky, two roomed house so were already working alongside local tradesmen and neighbours. They had approached the Habitat office in Barskoon village to make an application and the Habitat family selection committee approved this family under the new House project.
The Habitat team were looked after very well and had enough time to get to know the Mamyrkanov’s adorable children, Nuraly, Soumaya, Nurkasym and baby Rayana. The locals were intrigued as to why these foreign workers were willing to travel so far and work in return for strong black tea, home cooked bread and jam, mutton stews, spicy salads and organic apples from their orchard!
Each member of the Global Village team was valuable, whether measuring planks of wood in the sun, nailing and drilling on the roof, transporting heavy materials (such as bricks or cement sands) or getting dirty by mixing large quantities of straw and mud. Experience nor age was a barrier and it was great to see such fantastic team work in this stunning and super-hospitable country.
You can learn more about Habitat for Humanity at habitatforhumanity.org.uk.