The temperature on site has really heated up. We’ve had very little rain since December, so everything is beginning to look dry and desolate. While clearing individual villa envelopes, removing as little trees as possible keeps the shade over our heads and encourages the scars of construction to heal quicker.
For lunch, we’ve had to find some shade too. Using the tress we chopped on site, local coconut rope and thatch, we’ve built a rather organic site office, accommodation and security hut. Many of the guys have been living in these kinds of structures their entire lives so had the skills and knowledge for the fastest erection yet.
Its great putting local resources and knowledge into practise. Simple, low cost techniques that have stood the test of time. They remain at a more comfortable indoor temperature which can easily be repaired or removed. Feeding back into the natural cycles of growth and decay.
But as Western lifestyles and architecture leak into Sri Lanka, less and less of these structures are being built. Concrete homes are seen as a step up the social class system. However making the population more dependent on a corporation that clogs up the roads with large, slow polluting trucks moving sand and concrete around the country.
Perhaps I am a hypocrite as I actually hitched a ride in one of these when I flew home at Christmas. A great way to see the country if your not in a rush. The size advantage necessary when driving on these roads. Nonetheless we still had to succumb to a number of ‘Police Officers’ top pocket penalties for nothing that I could see worthy.
Sampath, the driver, was such a nice bloke. We could hardly communicate, but he stopped at many little tea houses where he insisted on paying. It took us 8 hours to reach his depot. As darkness fell I helped him unload his sand. His boss realising there was a white fella in the yard, invited me into his home and forced his embarrassed 14 year old son to translate. He had a 22 year old sister at University in Singapore who would make an excellent wife. I can only laugh looking back at this bizarre start to my Christmas holidays.