Saturday, January 31, 2009

With Whom We Work - The Local Apprentices and Builders

The Global Village team will be working on houses for the Orphan's and Vulnerable Children's Program (OVC) in Mozambique (more info about the OVC program is presented on other posts to this blog). When volunteers are not present, building still continues on a daily basis. Those who supervise volunteers as well as carry-out these tasks the rest of the time are the local OVC apprentices and builders. Here is an opportunity to meet some of them.

The apprentices are young builders and they themselves live in a HFHI‐MZ built home. Each apprentice is paid 200mtn per house and focuses on one of three parts of the build: walls, roof, or foundation. Fernando Raul Fernando is a 16 year old OVC apprentice who has been working with Habitat for Humanity Mozambique (HFHI‐MZ) since July 2007. He builds houses in the morning and attends school in the afternoons. An OVC himself, Fernando lives in a house built by HFHI‐MZ with his mother and grandmother. Previously, the family home lacked security and leaked when it rained causing much hardship and discomfort. The apprenticeship has been a life changing experience for Fernando who explained, “I like it a lot. I’m learning many new skills.” Fernando focuses on constructing the walls, but has learned the whole house building process. With his wages Fernando supports his family buying food and clothes. Fernando remarked he wants to build more houses to reach more people and help more families. He is thankful for the experience and feels that the skills he is learning now will help him in the future. Furthermore, Fernando is able to maintain his own house and contributes greatly to his family’s well‐being and livelihood.

There are several other apprentices with similar stories. The picture is of Isidro, a 15 year old apprentice, that worked with last year's team. His wages support his dying mother, and three brothers. Isidro helps build foundations for other children and their caregivers, cares for his own brothers and mother, and attends school at night.

HFHI-MZ builders are local tradesmen who are employed to solely build OVC houses. Earning 400mtn per house, each builder specializes in one of three parts: foundation, walls or roof, and are also responsible for mentoring and training the OVC apprentices.
Lourenço Mangue has been a builder for HFHI‐MZ since April 2007. Specializing in foundations and mixing cement, he is currently mentoring Joal, an OVC apprentice. Lourenço enjoys building houses with HFHI‐MZ and remarked, “This project has a big impact. Habitat is building houses for families in need and they’re helping the community by building houses for kids without parents and people who are sick.” Before he started working with HFHI‐MZ, Lourenço used to build houses on a contract basis in the community. However, working for HFHI‐MZ has increased his income which he uses to support his family of seven children.
Mario Muangua has been a builder for HFHI‐MZ since April 2007 and his specialty is creating the house walls. Mario enjoys the work he does commenting, “I like building houses knowing that I’m helping people.” Mario also mentors OVC apprentice builder Fernando. Since Fernando began his apprenticeship in July, 2007, Mario has taught and supervised his work on the walls. For Mario, building for HFHI‐MZ is more than just a job. “Habitat is helping people and vulnerable kids in an area which helps the community.” Mario’s salary helps him support his wife and twelve children as well as build his own house.

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