Volunteer Vacation Day Five: Third Home, Same Duties

Most of the first-timers in the group weren’t surprised when we’d heard we were headed to a third worksite, but some of the veteran builders found this shuffling interesting. On my first Global Village trip five years back in Cluj-Napoca, Romania we stayed at the same worksite for the entire trip and noticed very significant changes from the time we arrived to the day we left. Christina (the six time GV builder) found it strange, but good. If ever you want an idea of how the local people live bouncing from home to home will give you a better understanding quicker. In Tajikistan we could still see what was within our means to lend our helping hands on the first and second homes. Making concrete was not easy at all, but we knew if they’d had more of the wooden frame up we could have knocked the entire concrete portion out. With the second home there is far too much to mention where I’m positive we could have been of use. However, the story was they decided to move us because this family really needed our help. Their goal was to have the home completed by the end of this month.

According to the new homeowner, Anvar, the house had previously caught on fire back on May 3, 1998. The fire was caused by fighting and shooting that had broken out and they were presently staying nearby in a place where rent is $50 USD a month. That kind of money for rent is considered ridiculously expensive which was why the family is really looking to complete the building by month’s end. There are six family members in all: Anvar, his wife, son, daughter and two grandchildren. The daughter who was my age was divorced, which piqued my interest some because divorce is rare in countries like Tajikistan. I never found out much and I would have loved to have sat and chatted with the daughter for a while, but naturally language complications intersected.

Getting started on this new site was frustrating for most of us. The work space was smaller than the previous two and it didn’t seem well-organized or that they had thought out in which ways they desired our assistance. There were too many of us for the duties assigned at this new site which for the first day ended up being some mud smearing on the back side of the house. One or two lucky individuals had their chance to place their fingers in the cool wet mud and smooth it across the rather rough bricks! The others were part of a small bucket line. Many of us became distracted with all the neighborhood children coming by to stare, giggle and chatter. Though the homeowner or his son tried running them off on many occasions they always found their way back to the big bluish metal gate in front of the house to gawk and have their photos taken. We still had two days left and I hoped there would be more to do other than filling our camera’s memory cards with pictures of cute Tajik children.

On the flipside we discovered more about this last homeowner than the other two and with that I felt more connected.