The House That MAG Built - Part 2 - Another Leaf in the Wall

Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Buying Khao Laam.

After breakfast we once again jumped on the bus for some hard work. Today we would be working on House 1 with the Blue (Women) Group (Nannette, Helen, Katrina and Martina). Unlike House 2, which we had been working on yesterday and which was located in the next village (Thlat), this house was located in the village of Thmey. We were building this house for Con (father), Pen (mother), Kain (the son who was tied to a wheelchair by polio) and Kai (son). Pen was pregnant and was expecting another baby this month.

Working at a different location with a different team and different staff (Cham and the disabled Tang from the Jesuit organization) took a while to get used to. Everybody clearly had their own methods of working and the ones at House 1 were slightly different from the more free-formed approach we had taken at House 2 yesterday.

Finishing the final frames at house 1.
Nevertheless, this turned out to be the day that might well have been the most fun. Not only did we regularly break out singing with the Blue Team, I had lots of fun with Dave and the kids as well. At one point Martina was playing percussion on the coolbox while we were showing off our best dance moves to the kids, who were eager to copy them. Another remarkable moment was when one of the kids turned up with an enormous rhino beetle. He was playing with it and at times the insect was fiercely hissing!

Of course we also got a lot of work done today. A few more frames for the walls had to be finished here and we needed to wire all of the spots where the bamboo had split. After the frames had all been finished it was time to tie the sets of palm leafs that had already been prepared to the grid of the frames, thereby creating the walls for the house.

House 1.
This involved poking holes through the leafs with pointed sticks and tieing them to the bamboo with wires.
After having lunch we worked on this 'weaving' for the rest of the afternoon and had most of the frames nearly done. While we were working, Dr. Brett made himself useful by taking calls from the local villagers that believed to have health problems. I was fascinated by this. The house next door in which they were received was packed with Khmer people, each of which was checked by Brett. Cham translated while Brett asked questions to get to a diagnosis.

At 4 PM we returned to the hotel for a shower. I worked on the blog for an hour before having a beer with the rest of the teams. My roommate Bryan, who's also a doctor, had suggested I would check with Brett if I needed any medicine for the wound on my lower leg.

Wiring the frames.
And indeed, it seemingly had gotten inflamed over the last couple of days and my lower left leg was filling up with fluid. He brought me two types of antibiotics to take over the next days. So there you have it, my obligatory travel illness of this trip.
This evening we had a nice dinner at the Champey restaurant. Some of us went into town but I was feeling rather tired (the inflammation probably wasn't helping) so I opted for a last beer in the hotel before heading back to our room.

Gijsje says:
I think the infection which is coming home has to be related to the food...
Posted on: Dec 05, 2010
Biedjee says:
Unbelievable how you always manage to contract an infection. Planning on taking this one home too?
Posted on: Dec 02, 2010
bamiforall says:
Looks like you're doing a great job over there,Ed. ( Our house needs a little fixing too!!!!),Look out for those Rhino beatles,they tend to crawl inside your pants(after watching some pictures!!!)
Posted on: Dec 01, 2010
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Buying Khao Laam.
Buying Khao Laam.
Finishing the final frames at hous…
Finishing the final frames at hou…
House 1.
House 1.
Wiring the frames.
Wiring the frames.
Boy with rhino beetle.
Boy with rhino beetle.
The rhino beetle.
The rhino beetle.
Starting the weaving.
Starting the weaving.
At House #1.
At House #1.
Framed !
Framed !
Todays spectators.
Today's spectators.
Kat and the kids.
Kat and the kids.
Dave found a buddy.
Dave found a buddy.
Lunchtime.
Lunchtime.
The doctor entertaining the kids.
The doctor entertaining the kids.
Martina hard at work.
Martina hard at work.
Weaving ...
Weaving ...
... and more weaving.
... and more weaving.
Professional wall weavers us !
Professional wall weavers us !
Martina having a break.
Martina having a break.
The doctors visiting hours for th…
The doctor's visiting hours for t…
The doctors visiting hours for th…
The doctor's visiting hours for t…
Alison, Brett and Sarah.
Alison, Brett and Sarah.
Having a drink before dinner.
Having a drink before dinner.
Having a drink before dinner.
Having a drink before dinner.
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling