In the picture above, my late friend Manolet Teves and his cousin Maitos are resting after a day’s work on the Jimmy Carter Habitat housing project in Bajumpandan some years ago. At the time it was little more than rough hollow block structures on empty rice fields and mud; today it is a thriving community with roads, stores, schools.
It was a major event for the City as host to ex-President Carter’s housing project. Young Americans from church youth groups and schools came here to participate; ex-President Carter even showed up for a celebration at the end. For “social” people in the City, Bajumpandan was the thing to do, the place to be.
“Social” people get involved in these projects for a variety of reasons. Many of them live off inherited wealth and don’t work, so it gives them something respectable to do. For others, the prestige of their association with top people and celebrities gives them social power which they could not achieve otherwise. For some, of course, there is a genuine desire to help people less lucky than themselves.
But regardless of the motivations of everyone involved, the projects proceed, and in the end they are completed. And the people they are intended for actually do benefit. Some who never before had reason to celebrate, now can smile.
In the picture below, you can see the results.