Tori Puklowski says she was just a mum with four kids who had never been to a developing country before.
But then she signed up for a Habitat for Humanity trip to Cambodia and it changed her life. She was part of a team that built homes for vulnerable people.
“I had never done anything like that. I wasn’t interested in Asia and I was a bit scared of it.”
However, when she arrived, all those fears faded away.
She says the family was so grateful and in awe of having a new home. The mother would get up in the middle of the night to make sure the house was still there.
“You can’t top that feeling of helping someone,” Tori says.
So now the Habitat for Humanity team are on the lookout for Nelsonians who want to have an experience to remember.
In November they are organising another trip to Cambodia to help build several more houses.
“Lot of people who have never walked away from Western civilisation,” says director Rob Silcock. “Doing it for the first time, there is a sense of safety with other people.”
Rob says most people haven’t laid bricks either and they are looking for people from any age who are keen to get stuck in and do some good.
“You get this amazing sense of camaraderie with the people you are working with and you have that sense of belonging with people you’ve gone with and who you’ve built for.”
Rob says the biggest part of the $4600 cost of the trip is the airfare. The rest goes towards materials for the week-long build. Then there is also an option to join on a tour around Cambodia for the second week.
Rob says he knows the price can put people off so is keen to hear from anyone who is interested but might not be able to afford it, as there may be some options available.
Tori says that the cost is well worth it.
“I went thinking ‘I can help these people’ but you realise they are kinder and more generous than I will ever be. Really, they helped me.”
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