Today – the last day we were supposed to spend working in Campana – provided us with an opportunity to finalize what we started. Plastering the walls, insulating the ceilings, adding more windows to let some more light in and improve the air circulation in the house – that is just a fine selection of all that we actually did. Physical work aside, we went head-on with the social aspect of this work. It is simply not enough to fix a house without ensuring the owners understand the importance of the act and the actions they take upon it themselves towards further improvement of the living conditions of their home.
However, that was not today’s highlight. What became an unforgettable memory for us was the visit the American ambassador paid us. We were in the middle of our regular workday when he ambassador, Mr. Noah Mamet, arrived. He, first, visited Jessica’s house, where we discussed the work we were doing: he inquired about the plastering and insulation, and later expressed his conviction of our work’s significance for the families and its overall importance for further advances in promoting sustainable housing, especially in regards to low-income families.
The ambassador then went on to visit Daniella’s house. Upon entering the home, he was not able to conceal his sincere concerns about the home’s health-and-safety environment. A few of us currently working in this house did not hesitate to explain to the ambassador what we were trying to accomplish inside of the home. Mr. Memet expressed his excitement about our work in here as well and proceeded to take a picture of the semi-finished front window with his personal cell phone, which communicated to us that he perceived our work as notably beneficial with apparent progress towards our goal including the visible positive change.
After we took a group photo with the workers from FOVISEE and Weatherizers Without Borders (WWB), the ambassador and Daniella’s family, Mr. Memet and everyone else moved over to the local kindergarten where ambassador Memet delivered a speech about the pivotal role of sustainability in our socio-economic outlooks for the future.
Overall it was an uplifting encounter, which happened to somehow increase the worth and importance we all saw in the work we were doing. The ambassador’s visit and kind words filled us with enthusiasm and made us vehemently try to finish what we started at all costs. To our disappointment, we were not able to do so on time as we lost a significant amount of time during the first day while still learning the skills necessary for conducting the fieldwork. However, it is definitely not off the table to say that we accomplished something of great importance (not only) for the families we worked with.
-Written by Jaroslav Zapletal