Local volunteers to travel across the globe to build homes

A local group of volunteers will be spending part of their summer building homes thousands of miles away from their own homes.

Members from Habitat For Humanity La Crosse will be traveling to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia this August.

Tuesday night, the organization held a meeting inviting others to join them.

Not many at the meeting knew much, if any, about Kyrgyzstan. It’s a country on China’s western border. But those going on this summer’s trip said the fact that they don’t know much about the country they will be working in is one of the biggest reasons they want to go.

Andrea Van Sickle is preparing to lead a group of about 15 Habitat For Humanitity volunteers to Barskoon, Kyrgyzstan this August.

“We’ll be working alongside local people from Kyrgyzstan to do some sort of housing solution, which we think is going to look like working on half built homes and/or some renovations,” Van Sickle said.

Her fellow volunteers can be from anywhere in the world, but Van Sickle wanted to make sure she had at least a few from western Wisconsin tagging along with her, and her wish was granted.

“I thought, ‘I love to travel, this is a place I have not been internationally so let’s give it a try,’ and the work didn’t sound like it was going to be too bad so I was good,” Prairie du Chien resident Monica Horner said.

“We were actually at a volunteer dinner and Andi, the leader, gave a presentation about it and I thought that that sounded like something that I would be interested in doing, helping out in another country,” La Crosse native Jason Lien said.

Habitat For Humanity International said 37 percent of people in Kyrgyzstan live in poverty. 

All three volunteers said besides helping people clearly in need, one of the most exciting parts about their trip will be to work alongside and learning about the culture from the people of Kyrgyzstan.

“To be so local with another culture, with people who are also dedicating their steam, their resources to help bring some housing solutions to some people who just have terrific, terrific needs,” Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle said she decided to become a trip leader while she was on a H4H trip in Nepal. She said she was so inspired by her experiences during that trip that she knew she had to lead a trip of her own someday.

Only 15 people can go on this volunteer trip, but there are still spots available. For more information, visit habitatlacrosse.com.