Malaysia, Outdoors

Build a house in 3 days or an Ode to ‘Can Do’ attitude

May 7, 2014

This is an ode to “Can do” attitude. The mindset that allows you to dream big, decide and achieve a goal that didn’t seem even close to realistic some 2 months ago.

Actually, that’s a good idea, let’s go back 2 month from now. I was writing my 3 Most Important Questions and a goal on contribution suddenly came out as “Build/renovate and architectural object/house”. Not sure where it was coming from, but fast-forward to now, I have actually been able to cross it off. I helped build an actual house.

It all started with this - bare ground and some base pillars

It all started with this – bare ground and some base pillars

I joined the EPIC Army. It’s a social enterprise that supports the local Community – Orang Aslis, here nearby KL. EPIC designed an Ikea-meets-Lego kind of house that can be built in 3 days. And you don’t need to be a professional builder to make it. 30 people are divided into 5 teams: structure, walls, roof, floor etc and have their specialist builder to supervise and coordinate the workflow. In 3 days you build a proper solid house.

It’s amazing how deep this cause reaches – not only you help build a house for a family, working with some of them hand in hand, you also contribute to building a bonding relationship with the community to bring in more layered aid in the future – like family planning advice, healthcare, personal finance etc.

Day 1 afternoon - structure in place

Day 1 afternoon – structure in place

I applied to join this amazing 3 days experience for a number of reasons (main one above), but also because it triggered something in me. I wanted to do more DIY and I wanted a challenge.

Day 2 in the afternoon - roof halfway done, floors done, walls - ongoing

Day 2 in the afternoon – roof halfway done, floors done, walls – ongoing

This is what I learnt (you have to agree, all these learnings in just 3 days do qualify for a status of ‘a truly transformational experience’):

1. Life is hard. It’s physically hard to build things from scratch and for a lot of people out there life is really tough. Never forget that and don’t take what you have for granted.

2. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s the only way to grow. Period.

3. Set bold goals and be conscious about them. Every day. Else, how would you progress in life? Anything you set as a goal is possible if that’s what you really want. It may sound weird, but it’s true.

4. You opted in for it. Commit to it. There’s no such thing as dropping out half way. Especially when buildng something like.. well, a house. There are people who are counting on you and it is important to not give up.

5. There is life without Internet. Three days offline is a great way to connect to your true self, let go of worries and the daily hustle and become more calm and grounded. Lovely feeling!

6. Feeling present and grounded is awesome. See above. It lasts for quite some time too! Now I want to be very aware of this kind of feeling and I even started wearing a little awareness bracelet (a small but meaningful reminder – whenever I look at it I remember that feeling of presence and get connected to it).

7. It’s truly empowering to be around like-minded people. It’s amazing how much you can do and how uplifting a feeling you get when you are surrounded by like-minded people. I got inspired by some of their goals and achievements so much that I finally made up my mind and signed up for my first marathon!

8. Charity rocks. My goal is to donate/contribute to charity or other meaningful causes regularly now.

9. Scared of it? Do it! I was scared but curious to get up on the roof. But I did it and the feeling was awesome! That’s getting out of the comfort zone.

And here are some pictures (mine and by other volunteers) to show the truly impressive progress and the result.

Day 3 - internal walls and the window shutter frames

Day 3 – internal walls and the window shutter frames

Almost done - painting the house

Almost done – painting the house

And the house is done!

And the house is done!

Amazing team of 30 most beautiful individuals. Photo by Chu Hwai

Amazing team of 30 most beautiful individuals. Photo by Chu Hwai

Yours tryly handing out on the roof. Nailing it. Photo by Janice Tan

Yours truly handing out on the roof. Nailing it. Photo by Janice Tan

Team Roof! Photo by Toh RongRong

Team Roof! Photo by Toh RongRong

And this is the collage of the transformation. Thank you Cris Solis Chen for the picture.
Epic build #21 - photo by Cris Solis Chen

Thank you for reading and please let me know if you have any questions or comments – would love to hear your thoughts :-)

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