North Central College - Naperville, IL

Habitat Volunteers building a better world



Mark ’61 and Joyce Carncross ’64 Minor of Nashville, TN, have been traveling the world as Habitat for Humanity volunteers. Mark has helped build homes in Brazil, Portugal and Kyrgyzstan, and together they have been Habitat volunteers in Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Thailand, Malawi and, in 2010, Indonesia. In most countries visited by the Minors homes are built of mudbrick. Wood is almost never used—except for small jobs such as window and door frames—because it is either scarce or unaffordable. In Thailand, the strength and abundant supplies of bamboo allow it to be used as rebar (used in place of steel to reinforce concrete).

In most poor countries where cement is used at all, it is mixed by hand in piles on the street, sidewalk or yard, says Mark, “rather than using our method of having a cement truck or power mixer.” In Malawi, partner families whose houses are complete make their house payments in bags of cement to be used for future houses.

“You become involved with the culture on a personal level and you leave having built a home for a family,” says Joyce. “We believe in the importance of Habitat for Humanity so much that we would like to encourage other North Central grads to join an international project.” The couple may be reached at

North Central NOW Winter 2010