Getting started on the real work.

Posted: March 17, 2014 in Cambodia, Cambodia 2014
Tags: , , , ,

Though building the outhouse last week was fun, and the receiving family was happy with our efforts, we were a bit disappointed in the amount of work that needed to be done. We shouldn’t have been so quick to complain though, this week we’re aiming to build a completely new house by Friday afternoon. And to help us accomplish that we’ve got a back up team in place! This Wednesday a group of 18 Korean high school students with unknown English and/or building skills will be joining our team. This is either going to be really interesting, or really hilarious…. we’re hoping on both.

For now we’re working with two Khmer colleagues (Mr Sinn and Mr Buntheun) and two Australian colleagues (Jason and Marj). Because we’re trying to get as much prep work done as possible before the Koreans arrive we’ve changed our schedule to leave the guesthouse at 7 AM. We arrived at the building site at 7.30 AM this morning and met the family we’ll be building for, which consists of a heavily pregnant mom, a dad and two little girls.

The old house

The old house

Once again the house they had been living in wasn’t much more than a shack, the outer walls consisting of a few bamboo posts and tarps. After moving out the family’s belongings we started demolishing the shack. The quality of the materials used is too low for us to be using it in the new structure, but we’ve set the different parts of the house aside so the family can reuse them as they please, if only for firewood. By 8.30 AM the old house had been demolished. One thing that stood out was that although the state of this house was such that it would probably be illegal to hold chickens in it in the First world, it was not half as bad as the one we replaced three years ago. Apparently, the strategy of “worst first” that the organisation uses is bearing fruit.

Building the frame.

Building the frame.

Then came the familiar building of the working structure. As we’re going to be doing quite some sawing, hacking, chiseling and measuring these coming days we’ve built a temporary platform which will serve as a workbench, on which we can prepare the wood.  Unlike last time we’re working with round wooden beams (instead of rectangular ones) which makes the work a bit more complicated. Imagine 6 meter high trees without branches. We spent most of the morning moving the beams, measuring them and cutting them to size. Tomorrow we’ll be measuring some more and chiseling out spaces for the crossbeams upon which the floor will rest.

 

Sawing and measuring

Sawing and measuring

 

Jason and Marj have been working on the stairs, cutting the steps to size and chiseling pieces out to make them lay flat. While Buntheun and the father of the family were busy sorting the concrete pillars on which the wooden posts will rest. At the end of the morning we’d managed to have the groundwork prepared, tomorrow we’ll be doing a lot more measuring and chiseling.

 

 

The huskmobile

The husk mobile.

Also, we had the pleasure of seeing rice being husked with a mobile husking device that had clearly been cobbled together from a number of different machines. The engine from a pump (a hand-cranked 1 cylinder Diesel), undercarriage from a small truck, drive train off of a tractor or so.

As we have only one more day to get all the prep work done before the Korean schoolkids arrive to help us assemble the whole thing, we’ve got our work cut out for us on Tuesday. If everything goes right, we’ll only need to nail it all together in the right order and roof it up, and there’ll be another Cambodian family with a home they can actually call a house.

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Comments
  1. Riekje says:

    Good work, fellows! Keep it up! Very impressive.

  2. Mam says:

    You are so wonderfully positive! I hope that it all goes smoothly and that all is done quickly!

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