When Gordon and I began volunteering for Honour Village last year, it had only been in operation for about a month. Even in its infancy, it was a remarkable place, with three houses that held offices and classrooms downstairs, and dormitories upstairs. There were 32 children onsite, and it took me a few weeks to remember all their names. (No simple names like John or Bob or Mary here. Instead, they have names like Srey Noy, Somnang, Khaneung, Phearom, Sreyleak, Narong, Khung, Yoeung, Roeurn, Srey Neang, Somneang, Sek, Chea, Rithy, Khly, to name few!).
We learned that the eventual plan was to have 15 children per dormitory, and a fourth house, which would bring the total number of children up to 60. All this, of course, would be dependent on financial backing to support and sustain those numbers.
Since our last visit, fifteen more children had been added, which meant fifteen new names to learn! With a total of 47 children (14 girls and 33 boys) the three houses were bursting at the seams, . (No one is quite sure why there are more boys than girls. Maybe that's just the way it turned out, or maybe families who give up their children to orphanages try to give the opportunities to the boys, while the girls stay back to help with domestic chores. It is what it is.)
Not too long after our arrival, House 4 was delivered........
|House 4 arrived in pieces. |
Most traditional Cambodian wood homes are all the same style.
You can see one in the background on the adjacent property.
It's quite common to buy a house, disassemble it, transport it, and hire a crew to rebuild it.
|The main framework goes up. The pilings are made of metal.|
No safety equipment here. Notice the handmade ladder
The crew lived in a lean-to on the adjacent land
|These men walked around on the roof rafters like walking on a sidewalk.|
|The walls start to go on.|
A load of bricks and roof tiles have been delivered.
|Three sides done in a matter of days|
|The roof is strapped to hold the weight of the roof tiles,|
which are clay tiles imported from Thailand
|Roofing is finished. Porch is framed in. Exterior is mostly painted.|
Barred windows are in.
|Doors and shutters are on, house is all painted, |
porch railing and stairs leading up to the second floor.
House 4 is completed.
|Interior view of housemother's quarters|
which are located in a separate room next to the open porch
Walls and floors are left unpainted and unfinished.
This is typical of traditional Cambodian wooden structures.
|Interior view of the roof and support beams.|
Note the air spaces in the roof which serve as ventilation.
No fans or air conditioning, and it gets really hot here.
|Honour Village staff cleaning the interior of the new house.|
This is the large open dormitory for 15 children
They sleep on mats on the floor under mosquito netting.
|Mopping down the open porch|
It's amazing to think that in a matter of about six weeks, this beautiful structure emerged from a pile of rough boards scattered on the ground. Since these photos were taken, the open space underneath the house has been covered with red terracotta tiles, providing a lovely shaded play area.
Sue Wiggans, the founder of Honour Village, is on vacation at the moment, but I'm betting that not too long after she returns, the walls of House 4 will be resonating with the sounds of children's voices. Just imagine! When we return next year, I'll have another fourteen names to remember, and better yet, another fourteen beautiful kids to love.