Several months ago I applied to join the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. As part of the “2009 Mekong Build," the Carters will build homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International volunteers and families in five different countries.

Several months ago I applied to join the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project. As part of the “2009 Mekong Build," the Carters will build homes in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International volunteers and families in five different countries. The decision to go was easy, but managing to round up the resources and making the time available was something of a challenge.

Since being selected to join the build, I have been anticipating my first trip to Vietnam. There I will work with a group of volunteers from the United States, New Zealand and Vietnam to construct 30 simple, decent homes with families residing in Ke Sat Village, around 40 miles outside of Hanoi. This build, like many others I have been blessed to participate in, will be both a unique experience for me, other volunteers like me, and the homeowners.

Speaking of the homeowners, my “anticipation” pales in comparison to theirs, I am sure. I am looking forward to some time away from the routine and a trip to a place I have never been. Many, if not all, of them are anticipating becoming homeowners for the first time in their lives. The homeowners are about to embark on a week that will alter their lives. Volunteers embarking on their first building mission of this type may not know it, but they too may find their lives inexorably altered. Too late for me. I contracted “Habititis” in 1989 and have found it quite incurable.

That is how the string of Carter Work Projects began. When Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter participated in rebuilding some New York apartments in the first Jimmy Carter Work Project in the middle 1980s, their lives and their legacies changed forever. Carter is often credited with founding Habitat for Humanity, which he did not, but does live up to his reputation as being one of the most famous and supportive of all Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

I plan to share a little about the journey by way of this blog. The most writing I plan while in Vietnam will be a daily post on Twitter (www.twitter.com/roofsbyrick). The week that follows will take me to Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing, China, where I should have plenty of time to jot down a few notes and post some photos. Either way I promise a full report within a week or two of my return.

If you want to learn more about what is going on with the Carter Work Project, check it out here: www.habitat.org/jcwp/2009/vietnam/.