Finishing up

Posted: December 30, 2014 in Cambodia, Cambodia 2014
Tags: , , , ,

And then suddenly it was Friday already. Last time we were here it took 4 weeks to build a house, this morning we’ve all been running around like crazy so we’d be able to have the house blessing this afternoon.

When we returned for the house blessing, it had to be postponed a while till the Korean kiddie crew showed up.  They were running late in the morning as well, as they had been kicked out of their hotel for going around at 3AM waking other guests up by knocking on their doors. 14-year-olds on a school trip, figures. But hey, we were all 14 at some point in our lives.

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Some of the school kids watching the blessing ceremony. This being the hottest point of the day, the fan and the towel are self-explanatory. The girls in the background have more eyes for the little newborn.

Well, they did show up, and they did do a hell of a lot of work in the 3 days they were there. They deserve a big hand just for that. Can’t blame them for wanting to have some fun on a school trip to boot. It was also lovely to see the typical “making eyes at each other” you get when you take a bunch of teenage school kids and put them in a less formal, more social environment than a classroom.

 

The house blessing involved the local “Old Man” ( a shamanic priest) performing his rituals, after which a trio of Buddhist monks completed the ceremony with their prayer and chants. Funny and lovely how different religions intermingle and actually cooperate in their rituals here.

The Old Man starting off his ritual.

The Old Man starting off his ritual.

The village’s Old Man’s ritual was performed outside the house to start with, including leading those who built it around the building. After that, the ceremony moved into the house. There is probably some significance to this, but our Khmer is definitely not good enough to get to the bottom of that. It certainly felt like we were taking part in an ancient tradition, though.

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Inside the house, the blessing continues with the 3 monks and the Old Man cooperating.

The blessing done, we had a couple of drinks, shared some food with the villagers and went back to town slightly unsteadily.

Sharing food

Sharing food to close off the whole build. Note the “water” bottles of which the contents contribute to wobbly legs.

 

We’re glad we got to help out a family in need while having a break from the treadmill of Western life. It’s an experience we recommend everyone try at least once in their lives.

The family in the space they'd been staing in for the past week. It's under their neighbour's house. See the latest addition to the family all waddled up in alittle green blanket. grandma decided to photobomb. At 79, she's one of the very oldest people in the village.

The family in the space they’d been staying in for the past week. It’s under their neighbour’s house. See the latest addition to the family all waddled up in a little green blanket. Grandma decided to photobomb. At 79, she’s one of the very oldest people in the village.

 

The family in front of their new house. We'd not wanted the mom to stand up for the picture -she had a baby 2 days prior- but she did so anyway. We hope they live a longh and healthy life in their new home.

The family in front of their new house. We hope they live a long and healthy life in their new home.

 

The next day, we flew back home (23 hours… ouch) a tan richer, some kilos lighter (moisture loss from sweating and 14 kg of books for the local library) and happy with a job well done.

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