habitat for humanity, narcissism

Time and money

It’s September and this means one thing… my birthday is next month!

It is my firm belief that people should not give me random stuff. There isn’t anything I really need right now, and while tokens are nice, it creates clutter. There’s stuff that you need and there’s stuff that sits there because people give it to you without thinking if you’ll actually find that useful. I’ve written about this topic here.

There’s no need to buy me dinner either. As you can tell, I feed myself pretty well.

I do have some very specific requests if you want to give me stuff, but for this year, I have a very special birthday celebration in mind:

We’re going to go help build a house.

Regular visitors of this blog knows that I’ve been somewhat involved with Habitat for Humanity. Talking to volunteers and writing the articles made me want to experience it for myself, so I signed up for a build. I won’t say the work was all that hard for a bunch of city kids accustomed to the easy life, although it was hot and you get covered in smudges of known and unknown origins.

But if you can put up with that for one day, then I’m gonna tell you that you need to try this at least once. If you are not sure this is your thing, slap on the sunblock, put on your old clothes, pack the hand sanitizer and give it a shot. Do it to see if you are capable of bending a reinforcement bar with your bare hands, or to carry long beams of wood across the yard. Do it because you’re helping a poor family get a hand up in life.

Do it to challenge yourself. You think you have a hard life? I know people with DSLRs that cost more than a typical homeowner’s shack and everything in it. Look beyond your own life and pleasure for just one day. You may find something that surprises you.

So here’s how you help – time or money.

Time” is where you sign up for a build.

Date/Time: Oct 19, Sunday / 9am-4pm
Location: Kampung Senibong, Singai, Bau.
Transport: Car pooling, pls volunteer your car. Passengers reimburse you for petrol and/or buy you lunch.

19th is a month from now, which should give you plenty of warning and enable you to arrange your schedule to fit me in. :-) Money donations are not required if you are volunteering. You need to get to the site and get your own lunch already.

Money” is what you contribute if you can’t (or won’t) go. Everything will be donated to HfH to go into their house building funds. How much? Think about how much you’re willing to chip in to buy me a nice dinner. Or lunch at my favourite chicken rice stall, if you’re cheap.

The funds are important because they will always need money to start the next house. When HfH builds someone a house, it is not a handout. Home owners are still required to pay HfH back for the house, but in installments that they can afford. Getting the full cost of a house back will take a rather long time and they can’t rely on the repayments to fund the next build.

If you are interested, you can reply to this post (leave your email) or contact me directly at the address on the sidebar. Those of you on my Friend List on Facebook will be getting an event invitation shortly.

If you have questions, feel free to post them. I (or the nearest HfH volunteer) will be happy to answer.

If you’re not in Kuching and want to help out anyway, you can send money (contact me for my bank account number) or see how you can help at a nearby HfH affiliate or animal shelter.

If you’re not even in Malaysia or South East Asia, DO NOT send me anything. See if you have a local HfH chapter or any Non-Profit Organisations that could use a hand. I’m particular to groups that help animals (cats and turtles) and any local group similar to HfH. But the needs of your region may differ from mine, so this is entirely flexible.

By the way, my birthday is on Oct 21. I’ll be turning 31. Yay, I’m old!

Author: Georgette Tan

writer . poet . introvert . NSFW hand letterer . equatorial eclectic

9 Comments on “Time and money

  1. Bravo, Georgette! You’ve been the most fantastic supporter who’s not on our Board. Hmm, maybe you’d like to join our Board?? Offer’s open — gimme a buzz!

    Now, for anyone reading this comment, I’m the current VP of Habitat Kuching, and I’d like to thank all you volunteers in advance. People who have tried this have all said it was a very rewarding and eye-opening experience. Rewarding in the sense that it feels wonderful to get your hands dirty and work up a sweat helping build a house for an underprivileged family; and eye-opening in the sense that many of us have never thought we were capable of anything like this (i.e. building a house!). Don’t worry — no experience required.

    Our magnificent site supervisor Eric Yap will be on hand to show you which is the business end of a hammer if you’ve never handled tools before…

    Just remember: we have the knowledge to house everybody in this world; we have the resources to house everybody in this world . . . all that’s missing is the will to do it.

  2. Hehehe… Great way to celebrate your birthday ;) Let me wish you very very advance happy birthday. 19th October, I won’t be in Kuhing. 21st I will but I’m not going to give you anything! ;p However, like I had promised you before, I’m going to help you with the monetary part for HfH.

    I’m sure those that managed to join this time will enjoy themselves as much as we do and discover and appreciate what they have and they are way way way luckier.

  3. James: Thanks but no thanks. :-) I’m very allergic to boards and committees.

    Irene: :-D

    Robert & ahlost: I don’t know where TBA is either! The HfH office said that the Kpg Senibong (the build I went to last) is still gonna be under construction, but I can’t say for sure until closer to the date. In any case, we’ll all be meeting somewhere first.

    Wheeee! :-D

  4. Hi, Georgette, chance upon your blog here! I signed up for the Habitat here in Sibu recently. Yet to hear from them what I can do and what I can offer :)

    Happy Birthday. They say 50 is the new 40, what’s 31 then? I was 31 long, long time ago! Ahem!


Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *