Tuesday 31 March 2009

Day 7 - Taking the Pisti?

Today we continued building. The Few that were unlucky enough to get plaster boarding were close to shooting themselves in the head with the staple gun. Blocking was much the same as other days; basically it was a place where you could doss without the hassle of Pisti. The lads found a way of amusing themselves by hanging from the beams on the ceiling but the almighty Fergus destroyed all in every competition. (Note from the editor: Self praise is no praise, Fergus!)

You may have seen Pisti in previous blogs. Let me explain how this one local man has become our God amongst the team. He has been famous for having godlike skills and godlike goulash. (Which we have yet to taste, and have been told contains the limbs of local malcontents, who Pisti slaughters in his sleep) Pisti is basically the Chuck Norris of Hungary and the jokes concerning him are becoming more and more outrageous as the days pass. His accent has been attempted by many around the site but only one can truly master it. The habitat families are loosing hundreds of euro per hour due to the help of Fergus and Seán guessing the measurements of the plasterboard. But with one swift call of the godlike name he appears from the plaster with the phrase ‘You want goulash?’ Our goal is to get a signed picture of him holding a bowl of goulash.

This evening we went to the house of one of the families we are building for. Some of us believed that it was going to be very uncomfortable, but after 15 minutes we were playing Lego and enjoying ourselves. The house had only three rooms, the kitchen, bedroom and sitting room. They had no running water in the house, an outside toilet and the two children shared a bed in one room. They had all the necessary things needed to sustain life but none of the luxuries that we have come to expect in life.

Quote of the day:

Jack: Is this ok? (referring to his plaster board work)
Pisti: Eh… No… Not really… Take it down…

(Note from the editor: We feel it better to leave out some of the ... more choice words which follow Pisti around the work site, from even the most unlikely sources!)

By Fergus and Dalton

Monday 30 March 2009

Day 6 – Back to work!

We got up at the usual time today, and went to the site, exhausted from yesterday. Some of us were dry walling, which nobody liked to do, but we did none the less, and the others were putting supports in the roof. Sean, Burney and Fergus had finished dry walling a wall but when Pisti saw it he was not impressed, and told them to take it all down. Later in the day he wittily thanked them for changing jobs!

For lunch we had a taashty dish of spiced chicken and rice, with lots of clean plates. As we went back to the site we counted squashed frogs on the roads, and reached a total of seventy two, in just the short walk!

Towards the end of the day people started to grow tired, and the work slowed down. Tonight for dinner, after a swim, there was another taashty dish of spaghetti bolognaise. At the moment, our tour guide from the other night and from the local school is here playing cards with some of us, and I’m sure it will be an early night after they leave!

Quote of the day

Dalton: ‘‘I have at least eighteen thousand Pistis in my pocket!’’ (Pisti is our hero of a building supervisor!)

By Robbie and Steffan

Sunday 29 March 2009

Day 5 - R'n'R

Today was called a rest and relaxation day but was actually quite the opposite! We had breakfast at seven which was actually six because of the time change and actually five in Ireland. The day consisted of walking, hiking, fishing and extremely long bus journeys. We started off by travelling two hours to Eger to visit a castle which we got a tour around. It was extremely interesting! Fergus rode a cannon as pictured.

We also played on the horses which were actually for fourteen year olds and younger which we found out once we finished using them! We were so blown away by the war stories that we couldn’t resist!!

We then went to Szilvasvarad on the bus and got the train with only a second to spare. Once we got there, there was a really pretty lake which was crystal clear, we then hiked up the rest of the way to see a cave. It was wizard!! Prehistoric bones were found there and were traced back to early cave dwellers.

While we hiked back down there was a trout farm and Piggy managed to catch a fish with his bare hands. There were also lots of frogs and Dalton thought it hilarious to pick up a mating couple!

We hiked down the rest of the way and got to go on the bumper cars. There were some nice tourist shops where people bought souvenirs.
We then went to a torture jail which made us feel sick because of all the gross methods of torturing. We then got the bus to an amazing pizza restaurant, Piggy managed to eat three whole pizzas and then asked for a doggy bag!

Quote of the day: Mr. Clarke: “Noel, stop encouraging the children to crawl down the small, dark holes!”

By Jessy and Robbie

Saturday 28 March 2009

Quote of the Day

One of the ideas that we had while over here in Hungary was that we would put up a quote of the day along with our normal evening post but because we have been so busy (exhausted!) we haven't really gotten round to it yet. So I find myself playing catch up! Here are a couple of the best ones from the past few days, enjoy!

Day 2 - On the Building Site

Dalton Tice- I really want to use one of those saw things.
Mr. Clarke - That's a drill Dalton...

Day 4 - Teacher Training

Both by Seán Ralson

“In the early 1970’s, music was invented by Sir John Music.”

Runner Up- “Another famous Irish musician is Britney Spears who was born in county Wexford”

Day 4 - Teacher training!

Today was quite a different day than normal because today we visited a local school and taught in English classes. The previous night we were all gathered and given fifteen minutes to make a PowerPoint presentation on a topic of our choice. The groups were split up by room and the task was quite hard and surprised us. The rooms were in the following groups; in 'New Stack' were Jasper, Patrick, Dalton and Steffan, who did their presentation on rugby. In the girls group were Steph, Suz, Jesse and Tanaka, who spoke on Dublin. The second male group consisted of Fergus, Jack and Patrick O’ Malley who spoke on Irish film, specifically the film Intermission. The final group was made up of Michael, Sean and Robbie, who did their presentation on Irish music. When we first entered the school it was huge and incredibly intimidating because everyone was staring at us. We went to the first class and presented our slideshows as a whole group and were eventually split in half, with one half of the class presenting their slideshow to one class and the other half presenting it to another. This made it a lot more difficult and it forced us to improvise more, but all in all completely added to the experience. In the end we articulately spoke to 5 different classes and represented our country and our school incredibly well.

By the end, we were unbearably tired and faced another 3 hours of work on the site, which was a very strong mental battle, but one in which all the team leaders think we did very well.
By Jasper and Patrick Mc

Day 3 - Free Fergus Morton!

We had a busy day today. We put up lots of plywood continuing on from yesterdays walls made of the same board. One of today's humourous highlights was burying Fergus, as punishment for his awful jokes! We entertained ourselves during the day, watching Jasper riding the motorcycle and generally making fun of our attempts at imitating 'real' builders!
We were taken out on tour of Hajdu with two local school girls. We went to a memorial statue of the First World War which was very moving.
We also saw a Greek Catholic church which is unique to Hungary. Mr.Coldrick insisted on going to a bakery to see (and taste) some nice traditional cakes. At the end of our tour we visited three bakeries, purchasing at each one.

After the entertainment at the building site we were taken out to go bowling. We really enjoyed ourselves with our site manger Pisti. We didn’t succeed with the bowling so we went to play pool.
David Lynas said 'Serve and Learn' were the two aims of this trip and this was a very good day for both!

Friday 27 March 2009

Day 2: 26th March 2009

Woke up at a rather early hour in the morning by the lads up for their 6am swim, just outside our window. Hungarian breakfast was, emmm, lets just say different, though it was to keep us going till lunch time. We got into our rather sexy working gear, man we looked hawt, socks over tracksuits, gloves, steel top shoes and a hard hat. We walked to the site, only about 10 minutes away, past some rather vicious looking dogs.

When we got there we had a tour of the houses, and a feel for the work that was ahead of us. Some of the houses had already been completed to a higher standard than we expected. Pisti (who we ended up calling fishy) was our site manager, and showed us the jobs that we were to do. At about 8:30, we started doing some ‘blocking’, we found it hard to hammer in nails at the start, what we did hammer in tended to get bent, and break but by the end of the day we were sorted. After four hours of intense ‘blocking’ and ‘screwing’ we went back to the hostel for lunch, where we were greeted with a soup, and turkey lunch, again not our usual.

Rushing back to the site, we immediately got back into our routine, with no complaints, surprisingly. Finishing off what we started earlier, some setting challenges… bit keen. We were all looking forward to 4pm, when our working day ended. When we got back, we quickly got changed and headed to the Thermal Spa, for some T.L.C. We weren’t expecting the baths to be so hot, up to around 50˚C.

Supper was at 6.30pm, so we had time to swim and shop. After supper we went back into the swimming complex for a ‘Team Gathering’, where we discussed our day and the week to come. Off to bed now…
Caio caio,S
Steph and Suz

Thursday 26 March 2009

Day 1 - The Journey

This latest entry, features our journey to Budapest, our ‘All you can eat’ lunch in the Trofea Grill, our tour of Budapest and then our arrival in Hajdu, the town in which we are working.

Our journey to Budapest started at 5am in Dublin. We boarded a bus and drove to the airport. We checked in and soon after were standing in duty free and flying through security. We had around 15 minutes in which we could look around and buy whatever we wanted, which for many was breakfast.

The first thing we did when we got to Budapest was to collect our bags and exchange our Euro into Hungarian Forints. Then it was straight off to the Trofea Grill, which is an ‘All you can eat’ buffet in Budapest. We highly anticipated this, as Jonesy had said, and I quote ‘listen guys, I would leave my wife to go to the trofea grill one more time ’ (Actual Words May Vary). We had a good feed, which included many different styles of cooking including grill, fish fry and boiled foods as well as traditional Hungarian Food. Mr Clarke needed some sort of crane and removal of a window to exit the restaurant.

Once we caught our breath we were put in the smallest bus known to man and brought on a wonderful tour of the Castle District of the Buda part of the city. From the Fisherman’s Basket, a collection of towers at the top of the city, we saw the contrast of the very modern wealth and old communist poverty.

We arrived in Hajdúböszörmény at 7.30pm. It was considerably colder than Budapest, there was snow on the ground, and more is expected! My first impression was of a bit of a ghost town. We ate a traditional Hungarian supper of Goulash and pancakes. The apartments are very modern and comfortable. The spa and pool are also very tempting but we are here for business not pleasure! Speaking of which we start work tomorrow so we better go. Goodnight from Hajdu… From Midget Man (Michael) and Gingerbread Man (Seán)

And they're off!!

The Habitat for Humanity Team have just departed for Hajdu in Hungary to begin their house building project. Over the past few months the team have been busy fundraising for the charity and have amassed a total just shy of €34,000. The team will spend ten days in Hajdu there they will help to build houses for the homeless under the direction of a building project manager. A final boost came with the retiring collection from the Choral concert on Tuesday night. €1140 was donated to the fund. Regular updates will be found here, as the team post photos and thoughts of their trip. The party consists of four teachers and fifteen pupils. So, good luck everyone! And enjoy!

Humphrey Jones (Ground Control)

Habitat Team

Mrs. Heffernan, Mrs. Hanna, Mr.Coldrick, Mr.Clarke, Jack Armstrong, Robbie Hollis, Seán Ralston, Steffan Davies, Michael McBurney, Fergus Morton, Patrick O’Malley, Patrick McGonagle, Dalton Tice, Tanaka Khosa, Jessica Sheil, Susannah Cooke, Stephanie Brann, Thomas Emmet and Jasper Pickersgill.

Monday 9 March 2009

Final Arrangements!

We're nearly ready!

Final arrangements are now being made for this year Habitat for Humanity trip to Hajdu in Hungary. The fundraising is near complete and we are very close to our €30,000 target. Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the past few months, especially considering the times we are in. Well done to all our team members on their amazing fundraising efforts.

Once in Hungary, the team will post pictures and a daily diary outlining what's happening in Hungary!