Habitat for Humanity Volunteers Go International

FRESNO, Calif. Volunteers are helping build another habitat home in Downtown Fresno. When completed it will join hundreds of other homes built with sweat equity around the Fresno area.

Some local habitat hands traveled halfway around the world just before Thanksgiving to help build homes in Vietnam. It was part of the Annual Jimmy and Roselyn Carter Project ... Tony Miranda and Patrick Prince of Fresno were among the global workforce that built 32 homes in just five days. The homes were built along the Mekong River Delta in China ... Thailand ... and Vietnam.

Tony Miranda said, "They live on their boats ... so we would go down to the river and we would see lined ... just packed in the river ... all these little boats where people were living. But Habitat for Humanity had helped secure nearby land for homes and began building a small village.

The homes are constructed with cinder blocks topped with insulated aluminum roofs. Each house is four meters wide ... The size of a small apartment.

Patrick Prince said, "You walked in through the front door and there was a living room ... and the living room was also the bedroom ... and they would adjust the rooms during the day ... and in the back there was a kitchen ... with a kitchen sink ... they did have running water."

Tony Miranda who is the Fresno Habitat Executive Director says his chapter has been supporting projects in Thailand for years ... and with the large Southeast Asian population in the Valley ... the build in Vietnam was a chance to personally connect with that culture.

Miranda said, "We got to work right alongside that homeowner family and look them in the eyes and know that this time together for us was just the tail end of it."

Miranda and Prince say they feel like a part of something much bigger than themselves ... Knowing the homes they've built Vietnam will be a legacy for generations to come.

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