Epic Homes is a modular house developed by young Malaysian entrepreneurs to meet the need for housing among the indigenous people of Malaysia. These people, known as the Orang Asli, have been left behind in the rush to modernization that has occurred since this country gained its independence from Britain after WWII. The Orang Asli still live on the land of their ancestors, who predate the Malays who pushed into Borneo from the Philippines a thousand years ago, and then into the mainland about five hundred years ago. Marginalized by their lack of education and access to health care, many are among the hardcore poor of the nation.
More than simply a solution to the problem of sturdy housing, a significant need in and of itself, Epic Homes has designed their project as a team leadership building opportunity for local companies who sponsor the house and then send their management team out to the remote villages where the Orang Asli live to construct the house over a weekend. This past weekend Taylor’s University sent 45 of its leaders to a tiny village two hours north of Kuala Lumpur to build a house for a needy family.
A lot of thought has gone in to the design of this house. The intention was that anyone, not matter how little they understood construction, could assist in the build in some way. Some had quite literally never picked up a hand tool in their lives. Some, like Pam and I, had renovated several houses and knew what we were doing. No one was injured; everyone learned the value of teamwork and the importance of sequence in a project this size.
Pam and I were chosen to work on the roof; somewhat of a surprising selection, given our age. But we gamely set about to do what we were assigned in good spirits. It turns out that we still have both the skills and the endurance to take on such a physically demanding assignment. From lifting the heavy tile panels to installing them head down on the slope of the roof suspended only by a safety harness and my partners grip on my belt, we acquitted ourselves far better than we would have thought possible.
With a wedding in Penang to attend and a dinner engagement on the Saturday before the wedding, our goal was to finish the roof by noon, if possible, so that we could leave in good conscience with our task completed. Not far off our goal, we were done by 1:30 and on our way by 2 pm, threading our way through unnamed backroads to the main highway, and dashing north through a tremendous downpour to reach Batu Ferringhi in time for a shower and supper at 7:30. The thought that our colleagues had a dry place to shelter from the veritable deluge of rain was a great comfort.
We find it nothing short of amazing that we can still do this kind of thing at our age, and credit the Lord for His goodness in preserving our health and strength so that we can continue to serve Him in whatever way He directs. We thank Him also for keeping us safe from injury in what easily could have been a number of accidents that simply never happened. It was our joy to be of help to a needy family.