Mattias trip to Cambodia

Mattias trip to Cambodia


My name is Mattias Karlsson an I’m a 36 year old IT consultant working at CIBER in Stockholm Sweden. I'm taking 2 weeks off to work as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, building houses in Siem Reap Cambodia alongside people who need a decent, affordable place to live.

This blog will serve these purposes: 1) To keep my friends, family and colleagues informed as to the progress 2) To serve as a conduit for fundraising for all those who wish to help me change someones life.

Read on to learn more about my trip, Habitat's work and how you can help. Subscribe to my email list to recieve progress reports.

Thanks for your support. /Mattias

At home

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 11, 2008 06:13
After a long flight from Cambodia (Bangkok, Copenhagen) I am safe at my home again and having quite some jetlag. There where a happy moments at the Airport where my family meet me. I got a lot of roses and the fact it was fathers day made this one of the best days ever! Except that we got a parking ticket for 100 USD at the airport...

I will hold a small after work party for all that helped me with this project. If you feel that you didn't get an invitation, please make a comment here!

Here is a picture of the team in Cambodia. Very nice people and it has been a pleasure to get to know them for a couple of weeks.
Blog Image
Over and out,

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Day 10, Dedication Day

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 07, 2008 12:12
Last day and dedication day. We basically went to all five build sites and handed over the toilet or house. Very emotional and a bit sad knowing that this will probably be the last time I see most of my new friends. The families were very happy and grateful for their new houses. A small garden party ended the dedication tour and then we went too a School and handed over material such as pens, papers, color pencils, note books and more. The children were cheering and playing and seemed to have fun. But it really made me miss my own. Due to the six hour time difference I have only spoken with them twice. I can't wait to meet them and Ulrika at the Airport on Sunday.

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Report from day 9

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 06, 2008 15:54
After another long bus trip we arrived to the brick house and wooden repair. I shifted between the brick house and wooden repair several times during the day. We did completed the brick house today and here is team leader Neal putting in the last brick! The construction ended with a backbreaking mixing concrete for the entire floor! At the wooden repair, the local workers had finished much of the walling. We then started by removing all floorboards and put some new ones. At the end of the day we completed about three quarters of the floor before we had too leave. But I think that the local workers will finalize today. If not, we still have about two hours of work before house dedication tomorrow.

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Report from day 8

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 06, 2008 10:44
The bus trip is now even longer... We have two busses and the fact that we have finished my original wooden house leaves us with a logistic problem. Sixteen people at one site and four at the second toilet build. For me it adds another one hour to the morning trip because we drop of the toilet builders and then go to the other site. When we finally arrived we accomplished a lot. The brick house has less than half meter to go. I where at the wooden repair and we actually put in four windows and got about 50 per cent of two walls up. We did two teams that worked in parallel with the walls. My guess is that we will be done with the walls tomorrow. I doubt that we will be able to finish the flooring before we go home. I had a ten min break playing some volleyball with the local boys. At the evening we celebrated the result of the American president election at FCC (Foreign Correspondent Center)

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Report from day 7

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 04, 2008 12:11
Tuesday and the two hour bus to the build site and two more home again is getting harder and harder. We leave the hotel 07:00 and we are back again around 18.00. There is a wedding on the way and it is a contrast to the poverty we see around here. Before lunch I where at the second toilet build that just started. But we where too many people there and after lunch I went to the nearby original build. There did we finished the house today. All walls and the flooring is done. The house is still missing a stair, but the homeowner couldn't afford it right now. One of the pictures shows the carpenter and is son.

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Report from day 6

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 03, 2008 15:29
I where assigned to my original build again. We started with the flooring today. Before lunch we where a bit crowded. Seven persons craving to hammer a board was to many. After lunch we moved a couple to the toilet build and suddenly there was enough work to keep us busy. We managed to finish about 3/4 of the floor and tomorrow we might be done. But on the other hand, we don´t know the what the carpenter has planned for us. The children in the village are getting used to us and we had time to fool around a bit today. I borrowed a bike and that caused a lot of laughter. The families living here is very poor but there is always a smile around. The children takes a bath in every natural pool available.

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Report from day 5

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Nov 02, 2008 11:25
Last day of first week and I am back at my original house. Apparently the Cambodian carpenter specifically requested my return. We work well together, he speaks kmer and I speak English and most of the time I kind of gets what he wants me to do. He thinks I am good with the hammer and he keeps me busy most of the day. They finished the wall yesterday and painted the upper part so we begun the day with removal of the "scaffolding". The next step of the build is to fix the permanent flooring and after lunch we removed the old floor.

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Report from day 4

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 31, 2008 17:51
A new bulid site. A fresh start. The build site is two different houses, one wooden repair and a brick house. The wooden house looks like our first on the first day. New skilled workers and the other half of the Habitat team. It rained in the morning and most of the day and it was difficult do get the work done. The Cambodian skilled workers don't really like working in the rain. Jeanette, a Swedish independent journalist/reporter joined our team today. She is traveling Asia for three month to document different types of volunteer work. I started work with construction of some window frames and at the end of the day we had completed an entire wall.

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Report from day 3

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 31, 2008 12:36
It's is amazing to work with the cambodian skilled workers. The are skilled and can do lot with old and poor tools. And the way that they climb outside of the house 4 meters up in the air. I guess that they learn that climbing skill as children when they bring down the coconuts. It was raining heavily today and the locals said that the rainey season is for two more weeks. The childen played with the "graining thing" today and looked like a lot of fun. Another good day of work and we almost completed the last wall. We are ahead of schedule and I will most likely switch to the other site tomorrow. It's the king's birthday tomorrrow and people are doing all kind of preparations like this costume that we saw in the middle of the contryside on the way home.

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Report from day 2

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 28, 2008 17:11
This where a really good day. We accomplished a lot and now our small team of six has put up two complete 6 meter high walls. Its a high climb with no real safety...
The house is for Houb Hat, father of five children between 16 and 27 years old. The family has a total income of 115 USD per month. The Cambodian people is really nice and like in any other Asian country you really don't need to worry about robbery or things like that. One thing that I needed to do was to go down to the pharamcy to by malaria pills. Back home they told me that I did need them but once here the recomendation where to take them! It really feels strange to go down town locally to by white and blue pills...


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Report from Bulid day 1

WorkingPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 27, 2008 18:18
This has been a really long day. We started 07:00 from the hotel. That like 01:00 in Sweden and I still having some Jetlag. Then we took of for a 2 hour drive to the an small Camodian village. There we started to add some walls to a semi-finished house. Its now midnight and I am pretty tired and will go to bed.

On the more private side I did get a 2 USD Haircut yesterday in Siem Reap...

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Details of what the team will build

ProgressPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 25, 2008 10:57

I have been told that, because Siem Reap is such a new building project for the Cambodian Habitat Affiliate, we can expect to be undertaking a wide variety of tasks while we are there. Our work in Siem Reap may have us digging wells, digging toilets, undertaking renovations, digging foundations.

/Mattias at Bangkok airport

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Departure time

ProgressPosted by Mattias Karlsson Oct 24, 2008 14:40
Hi friends,

It´s only hours before I leave Stockholm and begin the long flight to Asia and Cambodia.
It has been a busy week buying a lots of tools to bring to the build site and a very late start of packing. It is a heavy package to carry and hopefully the airport personnel accepts the extra weight. On the other hand, the tools will stay with Habitat an local workers and I will travel light on my way home.

I am very excited doing this and are very thankful for your help and support. and will start updating the blog on the plane to Copenhagen.

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About Cambodia

About CambodiaPosted by Mattias Karlsson Sep 27, 2008 12:20

Cambodia is beautiful, unspoiled, vibrant and buzzing with excitement. From the capital of Phnom Penh to the temples of Angkor Wat, Cambodia has an energy that comes after years of upheaval and violence. This energy comes from the people of Cambodia, who are described as some of the friendliest in the region.

The Kingdom of Cambodia, located in the heart of Southeast Asia, is an ancient land with a young population. The median age of its people is 21 years. Regardless of their age, Cambodians are often poor.

According to the 2006 Human Development Report published by the United Nations, about 34 per cent of Cambodians live on less than US$1 a day in 2004.
Read more

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About Global Village

Global VillagePosted by Mattias Karlsson Sep 27, 2008 12:16

Global Village participants become active partners with people of another culture, helping to build a true "global village" of love, homes, communities and hope:
Read more

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About Habitat

About HabitatPosted by Mattias Karlsson Sep 27, 2008 12:00

Habitat for Humanity is at work in more than 90 countries, building simple, decent, affordable houses in partnership with people who need decent shelter.
Read more

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Donor Hall of Fame

Donor Hall of FamePosted by Mattias Karlsson Sep 27, 2008 09:07

I want to thank all of those who has contributed to make this possible:

Ann-Catrine Appelquist
Gunilla Karlsson
Marcus Wideroth
Rikard Thulin
Arne Evertsson
Mats Henricson
Lena Lagerström
Rob Harrop
Johan Jonasson
Björn Granvik
Magnus Nordin
Hanna Lumikero
Eva Cederlöf
Björn Ritzler
Bjørn Myrland
Agneta Låås
Sven Löthman
Dan North
Anna Nerlich
Claes Bergman
Anna Bergman
Mike Keith
Sense Larsson
4 Work Arbetskläder & Fristads

And most of all, I want to thank my family and wonderfull wife. Thank you for supporting me and loving me. I will miss you when I am in Cambodia:Blog ImageThis is me and my family from left: me, Ulrika, Jonathan, Alexander, Rebecca

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