Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Cambodia 2015: House Build #2 Mother & Son in Kror Peu Village, Kun Khmer Boxing, Phare Cambodian Circus and Blessed by a Buddhist Monk!

Soo-a-s’day!




I have finished the second house build in my international relief trip to Cambodia.  This is house build #2 and I'm out 45 minutes from Siem Reap city in a place called Kror Peu Village (Crocodile Village) We''ve started a brand new 'stilt style' house of Khmer Kadar style wood with a team of about 20 of us so hence all the bangin'! The family we are building for are a young boy and his mother who was abused by her alcoholic husband who eventually committed suicide. The two of them were living in a small one room thatched palm tree leaved roof house which we demolished and built a stilt style house with a room and porch for them to have. It’s a beautiful setting of rural Cambodia and the community are very sweet and appreciative.




From this…


We first started demolishing the house and then assembled various pieces of wood of different lengths and thicknesses to make a frame structure. Using an oil line we marked the wood of 9 wooden posts that act as the three main structure of the house and after what seemed like a very complex system of chiseling measured grooves and hammering nails into different pieces of wood – it was levered up and stood on 9 concrete posts that were level with the ground. They say in Cambodia if something good happens on the site of the house, they’d like their house built there, but if not well….have to pick a different spot!












To this! 


We then over three more days proceeded in hammering in the floorboards, interior wall, outside weatherboard, door whilst the local builders assembled the roof structure and tin.

Day Two 



Day Three








Floorboards done, interior wall, tin roof and outside walls nearly done!

Day Four 








 Ta dah! House finished - many hands, light work (well....not quite)

We cemented the foot of the stairs and wrote our names in the wet cement to immortalise our hard work!






Check out the inside











Highlights of the build...


'hard work...'



'party bus''






















The Blessing

We clubbed together to pay $4 each towards a brand new bicycle for the little boy of the family as he didn't have his own to make the hour long trip to school. We presented him and his mother with household items as donations for the house as well as his brand new bike!


The community came together and walked around the new house three times....cat and all!



waiting for the monks to arrive....


They enter the house and the priest has his feet washed before ascending the stairs whilst he chants....

No celebration high fives from this girl!





meanwhile the local make us lunch whilst the house is being blesses with Coca - Cola and cigarettes being offered the the gods...



Handing over the keys to Mother & Son - enjoy your new house!



Tear jerker moment....saying goodbye as we leave them with their new house


Kun Khmer Boxing

Taking a rainy Wednesday afternoon trip down to the Angkor Arena in Siem Reap, we couldn't have picked a better afternoon as it was the international Kun Khmer Boxing bout between Cambodia and Thailand. $15 a ticket for this popular martial art in Cambodia, you get searched...well...us well presented ladies didn't ha! and enter the very small and intimate arena with benches surrounding the central ring, hanging flags of respected fighters and the divide of Cambodians and Thai spectators on either corner of the ring. The countries flags are erected in each corner, red being Cambodia, blue for Thailand. 




At the start of the four bouts, they assemble all the fighters competing to present to the crowd. We seemed to be sitting in the 'premier seating area' which was a stage facing the ring with tables....how VIP, Sinn must have had some connections in the Boxing world ha! we were then told we had to move back as those seats and tables were in fact for the sponsors.......who never showed.

First bout of 3 rounds were the women and it was fair to say the Thai lady was much shorter but much better stocked for three rounds of fighting than the feminine athletic Cambodian girl - still they went straight for the jugular on the first bell and didn't stop till in ran again - pow!



After the bell ran for the end of the round, more points were awarded if you could get you opponent on the ground and when the turned to return to their corner, they sort of opened their arms towards their trainer as if for a hug and the trainer picks them up and shakes them! was quite funny seeing them get a lift and hug from their corner, maybe for consoling too! They then get a full rub down, water thrown over them, toweled down, leg stretched you name it they got it - sometimes you thought the time out was longer than the rounds!


Pretty cool to see the girls fighting and the atmosphere of the rival crowds towing and throwing with their cheers - but in the end was a draw (couldn't say 'tie' could they? way too confusing!).

Moving on, the next three rounds were the men who were a little bit different - there was 'snake charmer' music blaring out the speakers during the fights and the men psych each other out by staring and rocking back and forth waiting to strike - here's a few pics of some killer blows.







A sneaky pic of the action in the ring.....




The rain outside started to monsoon and the fans were causing it to become mist and soaking everyone so they were moping the puddles on the ring when the fighters were falling! The last fight resulted in the cocky French fighter competing for Cambodia get his eye bust open and then winded in the stomach which put him out of the fight.......too bad,,the home team ended up losing.

CAMBODIA      2      THAILAND     3

Great fun to watch though!


Phare Cambodian Circus

Later that same evening we took in a night at the Cambodian Circus which consists of six shows, changing every two weeks. The performers are all from impoverished backgrounds and were given free tuition at a performing circus school to make money for themselves performing the shows and paying back the institutions that gave them the mentoring. Well worth a visit! The show we saw was called 'Éclipse' about a boy who is rejected from his tribe and falls in love with a girl. He is then seen as a bad spirit and is killed and resurrects from the dead - so lots of fire tricks, acrobats and good ole fashioned storytelling! 

Plus...they give you a fan....its way too hot in the humid night with all that fire thrown in too!




After the show has finished, the performers come out to show their respect to the audience where you can go down and give a donation to help keep their circus going - great night out!

Blessed by a Buddhist Monk

The ultimate ice bucket challenge! Volunteers building the houses for the poor families were taken out of Siem Reap to a Pagoda to be blessed by an elder Buddhist Monk - how exciting!

Reaching the Pagoda, a religious site of worship and where Buddhist monks and nuns reside and study, we took our shoes off and entered a dim room with a $1 donation to sit in front of an elder Buddhist Monk dressed in his bright orange robes. Behind him, he had a hoard of donations giving to him under his bed or sleeping area and beckoned each of us forward.

He parted strands of red yarn and made a bracelet and beckoned for you to kneel and hold out you cupped hands whilst he chanted in Khmer and shook the bracelet over my cupped hands and placed it on my wrist muttering something in Khmer. A woman has to tie the bracelet as he can't touch a woman and the translation was......'You will be a Queen....' nice! 

   

Then....you have to go and sit on these washed tiled steps and await for the monk (after he'd smoked his cigar) where he has a barrel of freezing cold water and 'blesses' you by absolutely drenching you!

The pictures say it all....and the monk looks like he's getting far too much pleasure out of it! LOL!


Brain freeze!




Shivering...... but official blessed!


That's all from me for now in Cambodia....thanks for getting to the end of this mammoth blog and until next time....

Bless you! 


Sal

Siem Reap, Cambodia
















































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