A LOCAL couple are amongst a group of ten Irish people who are due to travel to Ethiopia on a house building mission at the end of the month.
Conor McCaughley, aged 24, from Ravensdale and Stephanie Rocks, aged 24, from Blackrock are flying out to the African nation on Saturday, July 30.
“We will be staying on the outskirts of an urban area and helping to build five or six houses for orphans and families as part of a Habitat for Humanity project,” said Conor.
It will be Conor’s fourth time participating in a house building project with Habitat for Humanity. Previously, the Vodafone sales assistant volunteered in Uganda, Malawi and Mozambique.
“In each country I’ve worked on different types of houses. Some had thatched roofs, some walls were made of reeds,” he said.
“There were no cement mixers. There was a lot of shovel work and the heat was very intense so it was tough work but I enjoyed it.
“In Ethiopia we will be working with a material which is a mixture of mud and hay. We will be shown the ropes the first couple of days and then we will more or less learn as we go.”
Conor’s girlfriend, Stephanie, is a teacher at the Friary NS, and it will be her first time volunteering for such a project.
The pair have had to do a lot of fundraising in the run up to the trip. Conor is a member of The Clueless, a Dundalk two-piece band.
Along with fellow band member Robbie Ryan, Conor performed a charity sing-along gig in The Sportsmans on June 18.
Lead singer and guitarist Conor also organised a table quiz in Oriel, and one in The Sportsmans on Friday, July 15.
“We are still a bit behind on the fundraising. We have to raise e1,900 and so far we have around e1,500. The money will go towards food for the families and for ourselves,” he said.
“We are paying for our flights ourselves. I always wanted to go to Ethiopia so I’m really looking forward to this trip. I will definitely volunteer again but next time I might go to Central or South America.”
Conor added: “Volunteering is a great experience. You get to see somewhere completely different. You see the good and the bad.
“The people you help are very poor and they are grateful for every little thing. When we are finished building the houses, we have a ceremony at the end to hand over the keys. We end with a game of football with the local lads.”