Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Revisiting The Courtyard: a fence and a drainage system

Many of you know over these past few months we have been busy cleaning up the sewage pit at the back of the The Sanctuary as it slowly is transformed into The Courtyard where the kids in the community can play in safety.

Bit by bit we have been doing doing some additional construction on the site, to make the space more  usable for the staff who work out of The Sanctuary. One of the little work projects we did was to create a back porch in order to move the generator from one of the rented buildings to this area.
 A old iron fence that was not being used at Rahab's House became the new fence that surrounds and protects the generator. A roof was added to provide some shade from the noon day heat. This roof has made the whole back area considerably cooler and provides a nice shaded area that allows some of Pastor Chantha's disciples to just sit and relax as they wash the dishes or prepare the food for meals.

Pastor Chantha's disciples hanging out at the back porch
Earlier this morning I went to check out the construction of the fence and the new drainage system that is being set up around The Courtyard. Yesterday some sensitivities arose with some of the neighbors concerning the height of the fence and their desire to enlarge their boundaries and encroach on the Courtyard.
Construction workers digging holes where the fence poles will be placed
Thankfully God has given us much favor with the Sangkhat (Village chief) who intervened on our behalf to discuss with the neighbors what we are doing and what they should not be doing. It seemed that some of the neighbors were throwing stones at the workmen who are now living on site in a temporary make shift home. Talk about workplace hazards. Such is the sensitivities in this neighborhood. Little things can trigger unexpected reactions so it is important to ensure that the authorities are supportive of the work we do for they are key to smoothing out such unplanned outburst and managing the expectations of those who have lived in this community for a long time.
Temporary home for the construction workers
Marking the boundaries for the fence

One can understand how the neighbors can feel a bit agitated about the construction as the picture above shows how close the mounds of soil is to the neighbor's homes. Nonetheless, the Lord has provided us with an engineer who has worked on many well known construction projects here in Phnom Penh and around the country.
Chief Engineer managing the construction of the fence and drainage system
Daily he is overseeing the workers to make sure they are digging in the appropriate locations to ensure minimal disruption to any existing pipes, poles or wires! Its a delicate job no doubt but here again, we see the Lord providing us with some of His best people!
With all the building materials on site, that has not prevented the kids in the community from playing in the midst of all the piles of work materials. Little boys will be little boys as I noticed a few of them playing with the bricks --- they seem to be pretending to build their own house!

 Once the fence is built and completed, the drainage system will be installed. For those of us who are logical, this almost seems counter-intuitive but then again, I ain't an engineer but am told here in Cambodia, it is normal to fill land with the soil first and then dig up the soil later to put the drainage system.
Drainage pipes waiting to be installed
I was advised that the material used in these drainage pipes are so solid that it is anticipated they will last well over 20 years. Let's hope they last a long time as ultimately we want to ensure there are no mishaps in this process as the neighbors in this brothel area are highly sensitive people.

In all of these efforts, it is exciting to see the land slowly be transformed bit by bit. Despite the obstacles, despite the sensitivities, despite the challenges, I am reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa:  “Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. The building of this fence and drainage system is not exactly an extraordinary act, in fact its a ''simple construction'' project but in a sensitive environment. It is easy to grow weary in the midst of all these challenges, yet scripture reminds us: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9) It is the love of Christ that compels us to press on knowing that these labors of love will one day provide a place where  children can play in safety, where they can feel loved and nurtured, where they can feel valued and where they can declare: The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. (Psalm 16:9).

1 comment:

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