Final Day at Work

Posted: January 15, 2011 in Cambodia, Cambodia 2011
Tags: , ,

So this is it. After two weeks of building, the volunteer part of our trip is finished. We’ve had a great time working on this project, and are happy with the progress we have made in 9 days of building.

The floor’s all done, including planing it so it’s nice and even. The wall between the inside part (the sleeping room) and the outside part (the living space) is mostly up, including a set of shutters in a window-opening. All the beams along the outside, that the bamboo outer walls will be fastened onto, have been put in place. The stairs have been finished and put in position, complete with banisters and carvings. Eight extra truckloads of soil have been dumped around the little mound we were already building on, as it was kinda small for the size of the house. The quintessential Cambodian hammock has been strung up between two standing beams under the house. It is really starting to come together now.



In an earlier post we mentioned that wood got sent back to the sawmill because it was of a too low quality, and the replacement wood has arrived -looking mighty fine. As it will be used for the all-important roof structure, that’s a Very Good Thing. Alas, we won’t be here to see that part go up, but our co-volunteers have promised us pictures.

At the end of a job like this one always gets to wondering (well, we did that before, but it is more concrete now) how this whole thing must be for the beneficiaries. Imagine living in the worst house in your community, and a lot of weird, gigantically big people show up, pick up and move your old house, and start building you a new one. Though the house we are building might seem like a tree house by our standards, it’s a mighty fine house over here. All that is asked from the family is that they participate in the building process (if possible).

Working on this project has been a great experience, which has given us the opportunity to see the way Cambodian people are living nowadays and interact with the local people, while helping them to improve their situation. Usually when visiting a country you’d get to see some sights, perhaps talk to some locals and at the very best stay in their house for a few days. The experience we’ve had here is quite different from that. We worked with local people on a daily basis, got to co-operate with them in their -albeit slightly disrupted- daily life and (we think) got a very good impression of what life at the bottom of the ladder is like in Cambodia. What it feels like we’ll never know, but we sure know what it looks and smells like.

All in all it has been a rewarding two weeks: spending our free time doing something which we can actually tell is worthwhile.

We’re sad to be leaving already, but also excited about seeing more of the country. Tomorrow morning we’ll be taking the 7 AM boat to Battambang, where we’ll spend a few days before traveling on to Phnom Phen and ultimately to Ho Chi Minh City. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our volunteering adventures!

Devie & Jasper


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