29 July 2011

UPDF Compressed soil blocks

On Wednesday 20.7. Mr. Then Sokhom took us to see the manufacturing process of the compressed soil bricks. Urban Poor Development Fund (UPDF) is building a Training Centre for Community Builders, where they have started the manufacturing of compressed soil bricks in November 2009.

The soil bricks would be a very sustainable construction material as the current site to manufacture them is situated approximately only 7 km from our site. For the bricks, you mix 70-80% of sand and 20-30% of local soil with only 6% of cement.

First the soil and the sand are filtered and organic bits and bigger rocks are removed.

Ingredients are poured into the mixer and a little water is added depending on the moisture content of the sand and soil.

A mold is filled with the mixture and compressed into bricks. With three machines, imported from Thailand, we heard that they are able to manufacture up to 250 bricks a day.

In the afternoon we also visited a small health center built out of the compressed bricks a few more kilometers away.

19 July 2011

Flyer printing

Even though the workshop yesterday was very fruitful we were left with a feeling that not everyone around the site were aware of what was happening in their neighborhood. The explanation to that was that the border of the Kork Kleang community is right behind the site and so some of the neighbors were from the neighboring community and thus didn't have a clue of what was happening next to their homes. That's why we decided to print some flyers with the contact details for the Youth Center project to be given out Wednesday morning on our next visit to the site.

We ended up spending quite some time in the copy house and not to waste a single moment, waiting at the copy shop provided Elina an opportunity to continue the sketches for the room program on her laptop...

In addition to the flyer making we managed to squeeze in four meetings with nine different people today. We got an exhausting amount of information about how to treat the site, about bamboo construction, about making and using of soil blocks and about prices of different construction materials.

Samaki 271 Community Hall

On monday 18.7. Mr. Seng from STT took us all to visit the new community hall of the Samaki 271 Community which is right next to Kork Kleang. The community hall is meant to be used by the surrounding residents as a place for meetings, gatherings, celebrations and for example as a place to do crafts.

The project was started by architecture students from the Tokyo University of Science in Japan together with students from the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) here in Phnom Penh. All construction work has been carried out by the students together with the community members.

One can clearly see that some of the solutions haven't been completely thought through and it has been more important to empower the community members than to get a perfect result. The students have decided to use bamboo without any protection against insects and the weather so even though the building is only one year old, the bamboo parts used as decoration have already suffered badly. Despite the rough look of the project the site is still worth a visit for the nice communal attempt as well as the nice, green, shaded front yard of the hall.

18 July 2011

Workshop with CVS, KKKHRDA and Community members

Monday morning started with an effective workshop at the Kork Kleang Community. We organised the session for the youth from CVS together with the community members.

We got loads of useful new information but if only we could speak Khmer, would we have gotten another chunk more! Great thanks though to the tireless personnel of CVS and KKKHRDA for translation, especially Mr. Somony and Mr. Son Choun!

17 July 2011

Visiting the brick makers

KOMITU is wishing to use unfired brick as the main load bearing material of the youth center. Unfired brick means that the brick is dried in the open air and sun instead of an oven with temperatures up to 1000°C that the ordinary brick requires to reach its strength. To reach those temperatures the oven consumes lots of energy which means that compared to that the unfired brick is a very ecological option. The unfired brick can also be made on site or close to the site by local craftsmen and from the local earth so no heavy transports are required. Only the equipment and the small amount of cement that is mixed to the earth need to be transported to the building site.

After having seen the Sra Pou vocational school we visited the site for making unfired brick run by Habitat for Humanity. The visit was extremely interesting and useful and the brick-makers were helpful. The organizer of the brick-making, Mr Rith, was not available but we are hopefully going to meet him during next week and get even more specific information about the possibilities of unfired brick.

On site we got to see the whole process of how the lovely red-colored earth is turned into strong building components. There was a large variety of different bricks and even a new experiment for a tile-like, ornamented brick!

Visiting Sra Pou Vocational School

On Sunday 17.7. Elina and Inari visited the newly built Sra Pou Voca
tional School in Oudong, some 50 km northwest from the centre of Phnom Penh.

The school building itself was just as beautiful as seen in the photographs on the website but
unfortunately it had already suffered some damage by the harsh elements of the rainy season. Thus we spent some time trying to figure out some details for fixing the doors that had been broken in the wind.

The wind keeps the building comfortably cool and pleasant to work in but unfortunately also brings a lot of water inside when raining. Because of the water and lack of secure, rainproof doors, they have not been able to start the vocational activities in the school yet.

The driving force in the project, the Blue Tent Project Manager Mr. Sous Sina, seems to be doing excellent work in the community though! He already has even his personal home stacked with equipment like sewing machines and moto air pumps to place in the school as soon as they get the doors and roof fixed. For this they would require extra funding of approximately $500, so if you would like to help Sina with the project please contact Hilla and Anssi trough the Sra Pou website!

Nice to see you Phnom Penh!

Inari and Elina have landed to Phnom Penh, where we will be working with the Youth Center project until Thursday 21.7. Tomorrow Monday morning we will have a workshop with the organisations CVS, KKKHRDA, with the local youth and members of the Kork Kleang Community.

So far there have been a couple of effective meetings and adjusting to the heat and the timezone. It has been very nice to see old and new friends as well as old and new places. But sad to say, with Boeung Kak lake the game is definitely over now. Although for the people and the communities still some rays of hope remain of being able to stay in the area.

If you would like to meet with us while we are here, please contact us in our new Cambodian prepaid 0972 327 847.

12 July 2011

KOMITU members paint for peace

Noora Aaltonen and Elina Tenho took part in the Multicolored Dreams street art happening. This year's theme was peace. Here you can see their two beautiful paintings, which are located in the center of Helsinki. Idea of Multicolored Dreams is to decorate the plywood walls surrounding the many construction sites with paintings.

The Dove
The Dove
Life of Peace and Quiet
Life of peace and quiet