There have been quite a few changes done since I left more than a year ago. They have built the long awaited toilets/showers! Now there’s no need to bother the relatives or hike up to the hot spring to get a shower. And i think the toilet is the cleanest room in the house. For some reason it’s ok to kill flies in the toilet but not in the kitchen.
Storage building & toilets/showers
The wooden storage building has been moved up here from the old house. Before I left I bought a new washing machine but the electricity was so bad that it wasn’t enough to run the machine. Now there’s a new power line through the village and going all the way to Yubeng so now the machine works. Not that it’s much use to me as women’s clothes below the waste are believed to pollute the machine so besides shirts I still have to hand wash my clothes. Mom is also a bit confused why we can wash the sheets in the machine but not our pants. And I’m wondering why the plastic buckets are so much more pollution resistant than a washing machine as previously it was enough that men’s clothes weren’t washed in the same water as women’s clothes but the buckets we used were the same ones.
The main room hasn’t changed much except that now we have a fridge. Mom had put some meat in the freezing compartment and complained that it’s too cold, everything sticks to the ice. So they had decided to turn the power down a bit. Then they were worried that the thing is broken as there was power but meats just started to rot. Well, they had turned the power off but the lights were working.
Dad has been putting tiles on top of the walls so that they wouldn’t be eroded so easily by rain and now they are also building a new kitchen.
So slowly, slowly it’s getting done!
The family has been building this house for six years and it’s still not ready. They build something and then work to get more money, and build something more. Because the house is located at a steep slope even the ground works were very expensive. When I came here two years ago they were still living at their old house. They loved the old house but because part of the floor had collapsed and there was no road to the house, they had decided to build a new one. Tibetan houses are made of rammed earth so the life expectancy of a house is limited. The walls are built by placing two planks on both sides of the wanted wall and then wet dirt is poured to this mold and rammed solid. Commercial loggings are banned in this area but every family has a quota of wood that they can cut for building material. This means that they have to cut the timber themselves, pull it down from the mountain, debark, saw and dry it themselves. Tibetan houses are huge, so many families work together in the construction. They keep records of which families worked at their construction and how many hours because they have to repay the work done when that family is building a house.
Building a wall
Tibetans don’t use toilets. There was no toilet at the old house but when we moved in to the new house, I forced them to do one. Well, it’s just a shack but at least it gives you some privacy. We are going to build proper toilet but everything takes it’s time here. First we needed to build one wall on top of which comes a roof and then we’re going to build the toilets and showers there. Now the wall is done (after 2 years) but no roof yet. Mom just said the other day that there is no rush as you don’t frees your bottom at summer time. So, I guess I’ll have to wait till winter to get the toilet. Try to run a guesthouse here with people who think that toilets are unnecessary! And yes, we don’t have showers either but we can use the showers at relatives’ house just up the road. Other option is to hike one hour up to the Hot Springs to have a shower. The name of the place is a bit misleading as there are no real springs, just showers. But the water comes from a hot spring. Especially at winter time it’s great to have a shower there as the water is really hot. Also when it’s raining the hot springs are the only option because all other showers are solar heated.
When I came to the village I expected everything to be done in a few months as it would be in Finland. So I left to Kunming to buy things for the guesthouse and to make flyers and spread them around Yunnan. When I came back I discovered that nothing was done. So, when the first guests arrived we didn’t even have rooms.We put some beds in the open space upstairs. When the family had some money saved dad went and bought big windows to put upstairs so that it would not be that windy up there.
By now we have 4 guestrooms done (well, almost. The paint job is bit unfinished.). Surprisingly, many people told us not to build the rooms. They liked it that you could seethe great view straight from your bed. Unfortunately it’s bit too cold here at winter time not to have room.
The view at a rainy day