I have had the opportunity to participate in Habitat for Humanity over the last several years in various ways, including volunteering at the Portland Restore and working on builds in various Portland locations. Last year, I decided to do an international build in Portugal. It was a fantastic experience, not only in helping build a home but also in learning about the local culture and making new friends.
This year, the plan is to go to Mongolia for a two-week build. I chose Mongolia because I thought it would be unique as I have not been to that part of the world, and I find the history of the region fascinating. I will meet up with more than a dozen other people from around the United States. Some of these people are seasoned veterans of international builds, for others it will be their first time.
My girlfriend Darlyne and I leave for Mongolia on September 9. We arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on September 11th where we meet up with the rest of the team. The next day, we take a 5 hour van ride to Darkhan, Mongolia, the site of the build. The ride will provide time for the team to meet and get to know each other. On the 12th we will receive our briefing and find out exactly what we will be doing as our part of the build.
Our typical workday will involve a group breakfast, travel to the work site, working until late afternoon and returning to the hotel after the workday is done. The evenings will provide the opportunity to spend time with the local Habitat people and learn about the local customs and history. It promises to be an exciting time.
We will have the middle weekend to visit the local sights, including one of the largest monasteries in the region, museums and other local events. Upon completion of our second week, we will travel back to Ulaanbaatar for a final farewell dinner and departure from Mongolia.
I plan to provide updates during the build to share the experience. I will keep you posted.