Ben has been camping in the forest for the last ten or so days while the first building is going up. Right now, the posts are all up. The long beams between the posts are on. The up and down pieces are attached to those and the “plan” (that is the Khmai word for the horizontal bits of wood that you nail the tin onto) are being nailed on. After that goes on, then the roof. You can tell I’m not a builder – I don’t even know the English words for all these pieces. I’m not sure that Ben does either because he always uses the Khmer words which I can’t remember.
He has had about 2-4 helpers out there with him. Some have started clearing hiking trails. The rest helping out with the building. And then one of them usually stops work early and makes the meal for everyone.
Ben has been telling me lately how we really don’t need to have a garden when you live out there. Today he said we don’t even need to buy anything from the shops. This morning he called me and said they had caught about a kilogram of perch. This is exciting for everyone because they have all pretty much run out of food stocks. Ben had taken out a bunch of dried beans and they are almost used up. His helpers don’t seem to like his beans. They’d prefer to eat rice and salt. He had given his workers an advance of money so they could buy food to take out there for themselves, but that just meant they bring a tiny bit of dried something – so it had long since run out. But every day they gather leaves. They hunt for various kinds of protein (you don’t really want to know what these are) and of course they have the rice they brought from home. Today they had the fish, with some sour green leaves. Yesterday they ate rattan shoots and the day before that bamboo shoots.
So, if we can learn to identify all these good greens, when we move out there we should never be in need of vegetables. I think I still want a garden however.