The Humanitarian Experience: What Building a House Looks Like

I wanted to give you all a chance to see what I will be doing on my next trip. The video below is from a house build in Baja, Mexico that my husband took high school students on this past spring 2012. You can read about that trip and the amazing things that happened on it here. I was not apart of this particular house build, but just watching it makes me want to be there now. This summer will mark one of our biggest summers yet. From June to August 2012 we will take over 180 people to Baja Mexico and build a total of 7 houses and complete several clean water projects. It is going to be fun and productive summer!

StudentReach International 2012

I want to go to there…


The Humanitarian Experience: The Adventure of the Grand Ol’ 15 Passenger Van

In just about 1 month I am going to finally get back to the real humanitarian life… well for a week anyways, but needless to say I am excited. No longer will I be reminiscing about days past. But until then I will share this with you.

Photo Cred. ~ M. Murphy ~ 2012

The grand Ol’ 15 passenger van. Great for hauling large quantities of humans across long distances, while avoiding high priced airfare. Along with the convenience comes, the uncomfortable truth. And when I say uncomfortable I mean, uncomfortable literally.

The arms of a new stranger pressed up against your own, creating a sweaty mess of whose arm is whose. The not so cool music of the driver’s choice humming in the background and that guy who can’t stop talking about… well I can’t remember because I zoned out at that point. And while you stare in envy at the leg room of car-sick person who gets to sit in the front seat, you begin to wish you suffered from the vomiting and nausea just this once.  That is typically how the first few hours of the drive start, and then something magical happens and no, not the passing of gas that the 15 year old boy thinks is hilarious.

Photo Cred. ~ M. Murphy ~ 2012

Photo Cred. ~ M. Murphy ~ 2012

No, something more magical. somewhere between here and there, you find that these new strangers are your best friends. And when you stop at the truck stop for a break and a stretch, you realize that your van is so much cooler than the other van of people. This van has that guy who climbed mount Everest and the driver of this van, is clearly the only one who will get you there safely. You find that the other van of people looks just plain mean, all while you are attentively offering the car-sick person a soda to help settle their stomach.

The ride becomes less of a 18 hour drive and more of an adventure. The van becomes summer camp on wheels and when the first person falls asleep well, your glad that it wasn’t you! A you get closer to your destination and leave your “reality” behind and you get closer to the humanitarian experience, one of them unexpectedly being the outhouse experience…

And this is all the first few hours of, weeks that you will spend on a true life adventure, who knows you may even meet your soul-mate on this trip (God forbid they are from the other van!).

A feat that only some can conquer… sleeping in the van. (Photo Cred. ~ M. Murphy ~ 2012)

Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…

When I get the flu, I know what to do. Drink lots of fluids, keep my temperature in check and rest. This method is a reasonable one that works a majority of the time, but then again I have been vaccinated and have clean water at my finger tips.

Meanwhile in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia…

When a child in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia becomes ill it is a different story. A story that is likely to end in death.
Over 2 Million children die from Pneumonia and diarrhea every year. UNICEF released that they are attempting to combat this horrifying epidemic of human loss with basic vaccination programs, with the hope of saving the 2 million
Vaccinations, the simple shot in the arm or drops under the tongue will mean life or death a few months down the road for an infant, and yet the availability of this simple procedure for millions is still unattainable.
I have written about vaccinations before and have discussed the atrocities when there are a lack of vaccinations. You have seen the ads on TV and heard the news reports just like me. When I compare the issue to the most recent technological achievements of humanity, it seems as if we are experiencing a paradox in the space time continuum.
As we continue to become exponentially advanced in our technological ability to communicate and be industrious, we still have yet to keep up with the primordial bacterium that steal our children as they play in the sunlight.
We can say lets give more money which is great, but what we really need are the future and current minds, the investment in time and the genius to focus on fighting back diseases from the beginning of time. We need the strength of the strong and powerful men and women to ensure that the vaccination programs be implemented efficiently and free of corruption. Maybe we need to prioritize more, maybe we need to encourage and guide our young fruitful minds to a revolution against the single celled organisms that attack with no remorse.
I applaud the geniuses who are currently and tirelessly working to stop the spread of disease, and I can only hope that one day the impact of their work on the lives of the children they serve is that of a giant asteroid.
A life shall not be wasted on a single celled bacterium organism…
“Unicef: Tackling Diarrhoea and Pneumonia Saves 2m Lives.” BBC News. BBC, 06 Aug. 2012. Web. 20 June 2012. <;