Cora Cheung

In this humanitarian trip to New Mexico, I have learned a lot of things about people, culture and construction. As soon as we got to Taos, we started construction on the 25th house that Habitat for Humanity Taos was building for this single mother who had a severely handicapped daughter. It is an honor to all of us to help provide a shelter for this family whom without the help of Habitat could not stay together. If this house would not be built before the winter, the hospital would have taken away the daughter because the mother is no longer capable of the caring for her on a daily basis in the house they currently live in.

Every house made by Habitat is designed for the needs of their client. The house we worked on will have a crane in the bathroom to lift up the daughter and place her in an elevated bath. On the ground there will be tracks to help her to travel around the house.

We learned a lot about construction, everything we learned in class was seen in reality on a construction site. This experience helped me visualize all the elements placed in a house. Also we learned a new type of construction, most of the houses in New Mexico are made of adobe, a material that is rarely seen on housing or buildings in Montreal, and we learned it is used. Another thing I learned on the construction site is the reality of construction. In other words, we can draw perfect plans, sections, elevations, but when it comes to building it is a total different story. We can draw a continuous line to represent a certain membrane and when it comes to applying it, it is very hard to hold it straight and tight and make it in one piece; I know it because I manipulated it myself.

All in all, this was an unforgettable experience that I had and again I am glad that I was able to provide the help that this family needed.