At the crack of dawn on a cool Friday morning half of our team travelled to Tam Binh, Vinh Long, Vietnam to visit the building site for our first project 'Brick By Brick'. Anh Minh; our program coordinator in Vietnam, met with our director Max, assistant director Tony and secretary Chris for the journey. After a few reasonably pleasant bus and bike rides our team was buzzing to check on the progress of the build which had commenced 3 days earlier.
Vinh Long is a beautiful place and although this is something that can be said for all of Vietnams rural areas, having the multiple canals from the Mekong Delta close by makes this place all that more exciting. The house is located at the very front of one of these canals, so much so that the materials for building the house were transported by boat.
During the afternoon we were able to test the boat transportation that we will be using on a daily basis, and without embellishment, it was quite a scene. Tony and Chris were having their first visit to this area, and the issues of flooding sunk in very quickly. The existing foundations are soft, muddy and very impractical for housing.
Trung and his team have made significant progress so far. The first task was to knock down Trung’s existing house (the family are staying with his mother in the meantime) and retain any materials that could be recycled and used again in the current build. They were able to salvage a relatively good haul of old wood and bamboo which will be used right away in the foundations of the new house.
The new house will be built in the area behind where the original house sat. This was just muddy grassland before but the team are making the most of all the space available and have dug up the area. The process involves digging multiple holes in the places where the support pillars will stand. These are then filled with the recycled bamboo for support and then the inner iron for each pillar is fixed to each hole to be bricked around later on. Once each hole is complete, they will fill the entire area of the house with sand and foundation rock. This area will be raised about 50cm above the current level, which will prevent the issue of repetitive flooding in the future. Once this step is complete, brick work can begin.
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If you would like to donate to 'Brick by Brick' you can do so here.