In the village, people work to get a house. As you contribute to the construction of the house, you’ll accumulate points that increase the likelihood of you owning the house. Of course there are exist other criteria. To accumulate more points so as to accelerate the “house-owning” process, the children in the family skip school to help in the construction.
Not the most ideal way for these kids to break out of the poverty cycle especially when they can take 6 consecutive off days before the school will contact their family. Back to the constructing process, we basically aided the skilled workers in the plaster preparation:
1. Separating the big rocks from the sand pile
2. Sieving the sand from the previous step to obtain the fine sand
3. Mixing the fine sand with the cement to form the plaster
Plastering is really needed since these “bricks” crumble easily if you exert even the slightest force when carrying it.
Besides that, we did some levelling of the floor as well as painted the houses. The whole process was tough but as we were working, we saw kids as young as 6 or 7 shovelling the sand, preparing the cement etc. It made us feel quite guilty whenever we took a short break or break for lunch because these kids would continue with where we left off.
To cool off from the mid-morning hit, the villagers like to enjoy a good pomelo or coconut (freshly plucked from the trees by the kids/adults). The coconut was a thirst-quencher though the pomelo was kind of dry (and sour) and it made most of us a lot thirstier than we initially were. Though the kids find great enjoyment in eating the pomelo.
Despite the muscle aches, we pressed on for the next few days knowing that what we did accelerated the construction process so that someone can eventually live in the house.
At the end of our 13 days there, these are the “completed” houses. The 2 green ones are the ones we worked on. It appears incomplete because of the lack of materials for the roof, plaster, partitioning the inside of the house etc. But we did what we could and the the workers can enjoy a well-deserved Christmas break ^^.