Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kampev Ingenuity

On our free day in Siem Reap, we decided to give back to the community, volunteering in the village of Kampev. Our young guide (who raised himself and brother after his father was killed by the Khmer Rouge and mother died shortly thereafter) explained that the village was comprised of approximately 150 families. As is tradition in villages, we first met the village chief. With his closely shaved white hair, the elder quickly shared his age of 63 - something of which he was proud, as the average life expectancy here was around 50. He gratefully accepted the bags of school supplies and hygiene products we had bought in Siem Reap and at a village market. 

Seeing the quantity of large bags filled with plastic bottles, we inquired about what looked like a collective effort. Smiling with his remaining teeth, the chief explained that the plastic bottles were being collected and filled with rubbish were actually being used for construction. When these bottles were stacked in between wire mesh and then covered with concrete, the walls were actually stronger than simple brick walls. What an ingenious way of solving the litter problem and building walls for schools or homes!

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