Building Cambodia

An update from the Lawley NFO Trip currently in Cambodia.

You can follow their trip on their blog.

A completed secure and dry building for the children

Monday and the building continues and finally comes to an end.
Everyone was ready to hit down hard and determined to finish the building project that we picked up from the previous group of volunteers. Today was a day that everyone's maturity shined throughout the trip. The teamwork and organisation of every single member should've been applauded due to our effort and successful completion of the cladding of the classroom, beauty room, arts room and tool room. Each and every one of us had an individual job that contributed, whether it was transporting wood to nailing it (of course we won't forget the wood choppers). There was a sense of silent communication amongst all of us that assisted in the speedy process of the project. The fact that everyone was able to feel a sense of satisfaction after having completed a long term project that will benefit the kids in years to come was a real bonus.

In our work breaks we were really relaxing, as when we were doing hardly any intense labour we were able to interact with the kids and continue bonding with them. Making bracelets was probably one of the most relaxing things to pass our time during our siesta, especially learning different techniques from the kids. This was another simple but effective form of interaction that improved the kids English and showed that we were not only here to teach but to learn.

After our siesta we were able to continue our unfinished business. Our teamwork by that time was something that came natural to everyone of us. It got to a point that the work that needed to be done was effortless and was completed a lot faster than the first time round. At around 4 o'clock the last nail was hammered by almost everyone of us to claim the glory. By the end of today I feel that everyone has felt a sense of pride and satisfaction of having completed a project that wasn't originally ours and having done it so smoothly without any complaints and hiccups on the way.

An addition to this was the request from the Orphanage manager that we paint a Chess board on a large cement table. It was started by a few kids and slowly many of us became engaged. by the time we left it looked great and perhaps we will have time to varnish it tomorrow. I have to also say he has been very pleased with what we have managed to achieve - at least Lynne has been told that. It's a good feeling that we can make a difference.


Monday, a day of sweat and toil

This morning we skipped the daily visit to the markets, as we wanted to be at the orphanage as early as possible. We had a huge task in front of us, to completely clad the buildings against the weather. The original bamboo cladding was in a state of disrepair and had been removed by another group of volunteers. Unfortunately they had not factored in the time necessary to re-clad and now the classroom, workshop, hair salon, library and the night-watchman's room had been left exposed to the elements. Our group had spent the previous day attempting to add as much of the timber cladding as possible. Due to a downpour of monsoonal proportions, work had to be stopped and everything put on hold till the following morning.
Our students had shown themselves to be determined to get the job done the previous day and were keen to get started. Each student was assigned a specific job: measuring to length; cutting with hand and power saw; delivery of timber and the final nailing of the timber to the huts, all skilled artisans supported by a "labourer". Our system worked perfectly and by sheer hard work the majority of the work had been done when we downed tools for lunch and an hour or so chilling in the shade as the fierce heat of the Cambodian summer peaked around midday.
The students then returned to work and with a final couple of hours of hard-graft, the job was done.
Lynne, Geoff and I were extremely proud of the way the Mount Lawley students had seen that an important job needed doing, applied themselves tirelessly to it, and with not one word of dissent or complaint, got stuck in. Not only was the cladding completed and all buildings made secure and weather tight, but it was also done with a level of skill and dedication that would pass the inspection of the most discerning of building supervisors. The kids at the orphanage and staff along with other volunteers were full of praise for our students and the quality of work that they produced.
I believe that the students are also very proud of their effort and quality of work and there is a real feeling of accomplishment back at the center.

Mr Outten