Saturday, 1 June 2013

A day as a Construction Worker

The team was divided into two groups for the activity today.

One group headed for Chuop Pri Sch, the first time we visited the project site. The contractors had already built  the roof and wall. We were to help carry earth from the field nearby to level up the ground in the room. For most of the team members, this was the first time they had actually handled a spade and cungkul.  It was also interesting to note how the Cambodians make use of the empty cement bags and two sticks to form what they call a "palai", used for carrying earth.  It was hard work, in the sun, digging and carrying earth to fill up the classroom.

The other group went to a pottery school, where the members were given a brief and tour of the school.  Thereafter, everyone was provided with some clay and instructed on the procedure to make a clay item.  We noted there were a lot of creativity in the team members.

The two groups swop activities after lunch.

In the evening, the team attended a cello concert by Dr Beat Richner at the Kantha Bopha Children Hospital, which was less than 10 mins from the home stay location.  Dr. Richner is a Swiss pediatrician who plays the cello (hence "Beatocello").  With his untiring effort to raise fund, Dr Richner was able to provide totally free medical services to all children.  A challenge he faced was his belief that medicine should be free, as the Cambodians cannot afford to pay, while his potential sponsors believe in co-payment.  His other challenge was blood, as plenty was needed for major operations.  As such, he told the team point-blank that he wanted both our money and our blood.  I think he is better off get money from tourist and blood from the locals.  He had recently opened up a maternity ward in the hospital.  Again, there are no charges, but the mother must be subjected to blood test for AIDS.  This is another noble quest of his, to stamp out the spread of AIDS.  He spoke with passion on his work, which spanned some 30 or more years.  We salute him for dedicating his entire life for the cause of Cambodian children.


"After carrying a couple of piles of soil, and using the spade and cangkul to dig it out, i was already experiencing body aches. By the time my group's shift was over, i was already drained, and we were only working for half a day. Also, i discovered something new about myself -  fear of little children." Karishma

" The project site was hotter than i expected and there were not many trees around." Dennis Chan

"Today i learnt how to do pottery and it was very fun. After pottery class we went to the school to start building the class room. It was a tiring but fun day." Ethan Chai

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