19 DAA students travelled to Jordan for Habitat for Humanity
Dubai is very much a first world country, and this makes it easy to forget how lucky we are to be leading a life where everything that we need is provided for; where our biggest stresses arise from school work. This year 19 students travelled to Jordan as a team for Habitat for Humanity, and had the opportunity to view a life style that would appear alien. Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that aims to terminate poverty housing and homelessness. The majority of it’s money is donated, and it is mainly based off of volunteers.
When I initially joined, I though that it would be one of our school’s typical clubs. I had no idea the immensity of the work that this would entail. Months before we went to Jordan, we had to raise money to fund part of our trip. This was done by various fund-raising activities that took place around the school. One of which was the carwash where the money raised came to a total of 10,000 AED. When the time of the actual trip to Jordan arrived, it felt well earned.
The location of the trip was in a village called Taybeh, in the north of Irbid. Immediately upon arrival, most of us had a ‘wake up call’ to conditions that were not expected, such as the long-drop toilets. However, we all made light of the situation and it has transformed into a standing joke. We were put to work on the first day. The first skill that we acquired was to mix cement. Watching the demonstration, it appeared quite easy, that was until you picked up the shovel and discovered how heavy the cement was. After the cement was mixed we carried it to the location of the wall being built and started laying bricks.
It was surprising how difficult it was to make the walls level, and I can say that during that trip I found myself in awe of the amount of talent that it actually required in order to make a wall straight. Throughout the course of the days building, our skills developed and what started out as being the base of a construction site began to look more like a home.
The amount that we built in those few days was something to be proud of and this was mainly felt when the family visited the site and homeowner’s wife walked around looking ecstatic at the progress of her home. I believe that this applies to everyone that went on the trip, that this was the moment when we felt like we actually made a difference in someone’s life.
In addition, to the construction of the home, we also plunged into the culture of the country. In the days that we were in Taybeh, I have never been more taken aback by the gratitude and kindness of the people that we met there. For example, the man that the team from last year built a house for, assisted us in the construction of this home. The people put a tremendous amount of effort into assuring that we were accommodated for. They also took us into their homes and gave us local cuisine to show their appreciation.
I have never met so many people like that in one space, and I am glad I did. By the end of the trip, I am sure that we can all say that it was a truly memorable experience that we would be happy to do again. It also caused us to look at the things that we have with more appreciation, for its surprising how many things that we take for granted that become the most missed when they are taken away.