End of the first week, outhouse finished

Posted: March 14, 2014 in Cambodia, Cambodia 2014
Tags: , , ,
Cooling off in the swimming pool.

Cooling off in the swimming pool.

How to sum up the last week? First of all, the heat has been singing (35 degrees Celsius and up, we’re really glad to have found a swimming pool to cool off in after work). From the moment you start moving your body is just drenched in sweat. Working in these conditions means drinking at least a litre of water an hour, often supplemented with re-hydration salts.

Up until our last post the building took the following process: rolling prefab concrete rings to the precise location, then digging the hole they have to sink into from within them. Although cramped and clumsy, it is the only way to do it without running the risk of damaging them by lowering them into a hole you dug before.

After that came the bricklaying for the foundations, then cementing that off, filling in the space inside the bricks with dirt and a top layer of broken bricks to raise up the floor to above flood-level, putting the covers on the concrete vessels and pouring a concrete floor.



Along with all the making of concrete and laying of bricks we’ve been building a framework of wooden beams to give the occupant of the privy a little more privacy. Constructing this framework is done a couple of meters away from the foundations, and our Khmer colleague Sinn has the uncanny talent of always picking a nest of red ants for him to work on. Hilarity always ensues, and new dances are discovered. Speaking of dancing, the boys from the local hardware store swung by to bring us more sand and concrete, plus tin roofing and concrete sheets.

On their way out they figured they couldn’t get up a slight rise due to lack of traction on the rear wheels, so the driver tilted the truck bed to shift the weight. He hadn’t thought of notifying his colleagues in the bed of the truck, or about the overhead power lines,  and nearly created a small disaster. Luckily, there were no serious accidents and we could all laugh about it afterwards, but it looked scary at the time.

Cutting concrete is dusty work.

Cutting concrete is dusty work.

The concrete sheets are cut to shape with an angle grinder, which is quite a change for us, as we didn’t have power tools previously due to lack of power (and sometimes skill).  After that they’re nailed to the wooden framework.

So we’ve already come to the end of our first week of volunteering this year and the privy we’ve been building is finished, down to the lock on the door. Now for a weekend of rest, cultural enrichment and some recreation.

  1. Mam says:

    How marvellous and happy you look in the swimming pool! And the project! The photos are wonderful. I wonder which project you will receive next week. Love from cold grey blowy holland! Xxxx mam

    • jadeontour says:

      The pool is amazing! It’s our new afternoon thing, just hanging out by the pool till we’re too hot, jump in to cool off, hang out by the pool…. rinse, repeat. Next week we should be building a house again, but a little bird told us there might be a twist to that project. We’ll know more tomorrow.

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