Beeld2
© HIVOS / Charlotte Pert

Amazing mason

Eat Vuthy is 42 years old and lives in Beong Trav Village in the Kompong Speu Province of Cambodia. He has always been a hard worker and he enjoys building and fixing things. He used to be a construction worker, making bathrooms and toilets. Because he was employed on a job-to-job basis his income was irregular and it was hard to make a living - harder still to fulfil his house payments and support his family. It also meant he had to travel further away to find work. Something had to change.

Eat Vuthy started looking around, searching for alternative means to make a living. In 2007, he spoke to an acquaintance who works at a biogas construction company. This conversation, together with Eat’s experience in construction work, led to a job offer by the company. Eat Vuthy could start working as a mason. It seemed like a great opportunity to become a builder of biogas digesters. At first, Eat was worried about reading the design drawings. The pictures looked complicated, but after building his first digester, he realized that it was relatively simple and that he was good at it.

His life did indeed change. His new job as a mason brought stability in his life. Each month Eat Vuthy builds three to four new biogas digesters in his own area, the Kong Piset District. By now he has made over two hundred of them. He no longer has to travel to other provinces, but can happily return home after a day’s work. He has a steady income and he makes enough money to settle his house payments and he can afford his children’s education. What a difference!

Building biogas digesters is something Eat Vuthy has become passionate about. He likes being part of improving the living situations of other villagers. He has seen how biogas digesters make cooking easier and healthier: women no longer have to buy or collect firewood and the air in their kitchens is clean. The farms in his district also yield more and better crops, now that they can fertilize the fields with bio-slurry. Slurry is the remains of the cow dung, after the biogas is extracted. Eat Vuthy is amazed about how it all works.

Indeed, his job is amazing. Eat Vuthy feels that his life has taken a turn for the better. He loves his job as a mason and will keep building biogas digesters for as long as he can.