Sunday, July 15, 2012

Everybody's Working for the Weekend...Except I'm Working on the Weekend!

It's Sunday night, and that means another work week is about to start.  If you're like me, you're probably already making plans for next weekend.  I bet you can't top my plans, though!  Saturday I'll be sitting on planes for over 11 hours so I can arrive in a foreign city at 1:00 am.  On Sunday, I'll start a week of manual labor that will leave me sweaty, dirty, achy and probably a bit dehydrated.  And I can't wait!!

Want more details?  Let me get up on my soapbox!

I'll be in Feira Nova, Brazil,  a city in the northeastern part of the country about 77 km from the regional capital of Recife.  It has a population of 19,000 with a large rural economy dependent on family farming and the production of manioc. 

The local HFH affiliate has been working on a project called Women Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives.  It's a collaborative effort developed by local women’s centers, the government and Habitat for Humanity Brazil to ensure better living conditions for 100 women and their families  

The project aims to support 100 women that scrape manioc at a local factory.  Known as “houses of flour”, the factories where the women work are practically inhumane.  Early working ages have become increasingly common in this region, bringing major impact on education and integration of women into the workplace.  Most of the scrapers are 13 to 30 years old with no other alternative of employment to survive.  Over 60 percent of the women at the factory are heads of families.  The income obtained from these women in the “houses of flour” is heart-breakingly low:  85 percent of them receive less then $94 per month.  For each 100 kg of peeled cassava, they earn 94 cents.  They usually work in 15 hour shifts, often returning home to care for young children.  All the women pay to rent houses, in most cases sharing the same living space with several relatives. Furthermore, there is a lack of public housing, forcing these women and their families to pay high rent to live near the factories.  Women Building Homes and Rebuilding Lives aims to increase access to affordable, reliable and safe housing, as well as to ensure rights among a group that has historically been denied citizenship by social processes of exclusion, invisibility and violence.  (Pretty wordy last sentence...I took that from HFH!)

Here's a video clip featuring some of the women how will be moving into the new HFH houses soon.  It's worth watching!!

( on the link below for the video clip, not the photo)

I'll be there mixing up gravel and cement, slinging mortar, and having a lot of fun.  Makes your plans for a round of golf or happy hour look a little boring, huh?

slinging mortar in Jordan

But here's a way you can make yourself feel better:  Donate to our Brazil build at
HFH Brazil: Team Akremi


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