Richmondite travelled abroad with Habitat for Humanity to build a house in Fiji

How to spend four days wisely? Steveston resident Catriona Day has an idea.

Day just came back from Fiji last month after helping a local family build a home in four days.

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The family moved into their new home last month, thanks to the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity and its Canadian volunteers, including Day.

“(Before the house was built) hey lived in a small, muddy old shack before. Their roof fell off in the hurricane in 2016,” said Day, showing pictures of the little hut with a leaky, make-shift roof.

The new home, which is six-meters by six-meters with an outdoor washroom, was built for a family of four, including two girls in their early 20s.

Day and the Habitat team decorated the home with balloons and flower, in celebration of the family’s arrival.

“We presented the house to them on the last day; they were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy,” said Day, adding that there were a lot of hugs and tears.

“It’s quite an amazing opportunity that I recommend for everyone. You don’t need any particular skills or knowledge (to contribute),” said Day.

Fiji has been on Day’s travel bucket list for a while and she wanted to immerse herself in the local culture on her trip. But, more importantly, she harbors a desire to give people the help they need.

After doing some research online, she found that the Habitat for Humanity Global Village program fit her needs.

Day landed in Fiji on Oct. 19. During her week there, she used shovels to dig three-foot holes, hammered nails under a scorching hot sun. She also enjoyed traditional Fijian food and visited local tourist sites with other volunteers.

Day said the trip totally changed her perspective on life. Looking back at those photos from the trip, she asks herself, ‘What am I complaining about?’

“I have everything compared to the Fiji family, (but) they are satisfied with what they have, and they are (even) happier,” said Day.

She added that money’s impact on happiness is very limited and suggest that, if you are looking for lifetime of happiness, help someone in need.

Day encourages more Richmondites to sign up for the volunteer program to work with families in need to build safe, decent and affordable housing.


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