The Brown County Home Builders Association recently donated funds to allow the UW Green Bay Collegiate Chapter of Habitat for Humanity to take a mission trip to the Philippines. Here is a note of thanks from their team for helping to make the amazing experience a possibility:

We are back from our Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to the Philippines. It was absolutely the experience of a lifetime. Words fail us. Suffice it to say that, for us, the housing communities where we worked showed us poverty on a scope and scale unimaginable here. The need for safe, durable, affordable housing in this country is profound, with a backlog of nearly four million people living in urban slums. But, unexpectedly, the communities we served were unusually vibrant – there were small micro-economies within the slums with businesses and services – and the people were kind, grateful and generous. I have traveled some myself, and I believe that the Filipino people are among the nicest, most polite, happiest people I have ever met.

The work we did was hard and manual. The tools on hand were buckets, shovels, pick axes to break rock, hacksaws to cut re-bar, etc. Everything we did in a week (mostly digging holes in soil and rock, mixing concrete, and setting foundation footings and building support columns) would have been done in a half day here with a back hoe and a jackhammer. It took 26 of us a full week to do it by hand (11 of us from the US, joined by 15 college students from Japan). But we did not go there to judge, just to contribute our labor and immerse ourselves in this culture and community, and that we did.

There is no way that ten college kids from Wisconsin can have an experience like this and not have their world view permanently altered. The same is true for me. We return home humbled, and deeply moved by our experience.

We can’t thank you enough for your generous donation to our trip. With much gratitude for helping to make this possible, Mike Stearney and the team.