Essay celebrates Zaller’s work
Magnolia Intermediate School
A few months ago, on October 8, Pakistan experienced a 7.6 earthquake in its Kashmir Region. When he heard the news, one man felt a tug on his heart; it was the need to do something. This is Greg Zaller’s story …
Greg Zaller is a contractor from California who decided that he would go to Pakistan to help those who had lost their homes in the earthquake. He took a plane to Hilcot which is a small town in Pakistan and the place where Mr. Zaller would do his work. When he got there, the devastation that met his eyes confirmed that he was right to come. Using beams from houses that had been hit by the earthquake and corrugated steel, he and some others helped the Hilcot people to rebuild not only their homes, but their society as well.
The people there were unskilled as builders, so the first task was teaching them how to construct. It gave them a sense of dignity and pride to help build their own homes, and that is exactly how it was supposed to be. The houses are anything but extravagant, but they are enough for those with no other place to call home. Since the earthquake, the people had been living in tents that are hardly substantial in that they will collapse beneath pressure of snow, and that region receives a considerable amount. The houses are small, with the longest beam being used in the structure at eight feet long, but the people are of short stature and the buildings are plenty large enough for them.
Shelter was not the only thing that the people received from Greg Zaller’s outreach, though. In looking at some “before-and-after” shots, as Mr. Zaller refers to them, there is a change in the people as well as the land. Photos taken (when Mr. Zaller first arrived in Pakistan) of families that lost their homes and loved ones in the quake show people that look as though they have nothing to look forward to. Nothing to smile about. Nothing to reach for. Nothing to hug and dance and laugh about … nothing. But it is not the same scene captured in photos taken of families after they had gone and built new homes for themselves. They look in those pictures as if they are completely different people. Those who have everything to look forward to. Everything to smile about .Everything to reach for. Everything to hug and dance and laugh about … everything. Greg Zaller and the other men with him, through their aid, have accomplished more than just giving the people new homes. They have given them new frames of mind as well.
His incredible tale shows us all that a little love and understanding can go a long way. He felt a need to help, so he did just that, and he ended up giving the people not only a new shelter and place to call home, but a new outlook on life as well. It is as he stated, “All you have to do is understand …”
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