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Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 13th 2008: Report from the field - Budget Hut Building Group

It has been some tough weeks for our Budget Hut Building Group (NLS group). This volunteer group is emotionally strong and committed. They have the will to go on as long as there is funding available to them. But let's face it, these guys have been staying in Latputta for weeks. They have not eaten proper meal for days. And one attack they are facing is from mosquitoes. They are a bit tired, and they need some medicines to take care of the mosquito bites on their legs and arms. They have tried using mosquito repellent, but nothing works so far. We have to do something to take care of our volunteers working in the front lines.

We have chosen a site for building budget huts under MHF funding. The village is under the administration of Latputta Township. It can take about 7-8 hours to reach Latputta. From Laputta, you can continue the trip by boat. Each way takes about 2 and a half hours.

This village has about 200 people left after the cyclone. We have taken the available family listings and calculated that about 25 huts are needed to house the people without any place to live. These 25 huts will be safe accommodation for some 88 people when all the huts are completed. Among 25 huts, some will be occupied by whole families, some are to be occupied by survivors from different families.

With funding from MHF, we have bought nails, ropes, wooden planks, saw, staple gun, hummer, and tarpaulin sheets for roofing. And the villagers build the huts together. The targeted 25 huts are about to be finished. But June and July are the busy periods for people who live around here. Their routine livelihood is still important to carry on under these circumstances.
So, the villagers have been both working in the field and building the huts for themselves and the neighbors around them.

We will try to update with the recent photos as soon as we have them taken.

Challenges ahead:

- The cost will go up because the supply of wood is getting scarce in the village. In Latputta, normal hard woods are not available anymore. Either you buy better quality hard wood or import from another town with high transportation cost.

- We need to find ways to support the villagers and volunteers with their daily routine and living while they work on the huts.

- Mosquitoes have serious impact on health. It is going to be a long term battle to get to the root causes. Meanwhile, we will try sending different brands of mosquito repellent sprays. Any suggestions are welcomed.

- There are plenty of migrations going on among the villages and there are many requests by the villagers to NLS group to help them build a home. NLS group has the will to carry on as long as there is funding. They need continue support from all of us.

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