Vietnam Big Build: A Reflection

Erika, Faith and Global Engagement Director

The Fort Collins team was one of many that came from around the world to volunteer. 

A local team from First United Methodist Church was one of 21 teams from around the world building 21 homes for families in Vietnam earlier this month for Habitat’s annual Big Build. Our team’s homebuyer worked tirelessly with us and, because of the heat and humidity, we saw firsthand the meaning of “sweat” in sweat equity (homebuyers’ responsibility to help build their own homes)!

Tuan, the homebuyer who only had a 2nd grade education, had lived all of his life in a shack without running water. Imagine living with rain seeping through the roof and walls, and the unsanitary conditions of having to defecate outside.  It’s no surprise that he said on the day of his home dedication—built with sturdy bricks, complete with toilet—“This is the best day of my life!”

Our team enjoyed strong coffee, Bun Cha (a popular Vietnamese food), and evening entertainment and outings with all of the 240 volunteers and 50 Habitat Vietnam staff who were part of the Big Build. The week’s finale left us with gratitude that Tuan (and his wife and son) and the other 20 families now have homes, empowerment and hope for the years ahead!


We also enjoyed introducing our own Jimmy Carter look-alike (Jim Collinson) to Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.