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Construction

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Finally the material from the wood shop has arrived at the site.

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Some of the children helped us carry the material in place.

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This is the site where we will build our little village of pavilions.
But what is Bjørnar doing on the roof?

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Maybe he is trying to keep an eye out for our new neighbors?

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Construction of the first frames has begun!

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The first framework is standing!

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Several pavilions soon went up!

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Assembling the frameworks was a quite fast job. But in the background, some of us kept being distracted by a certain blue wall and the machinery behind it.

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Better forget about the big orange machine and focus on the details.

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Everything needs to be precise.

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Before long a veritable forest of framework had grown into place.

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Unforeseen

The day before we expected to receive our construction materials from the wood shop, we arrived at the site only to see that part of it was gone. They had just tore down part of the wall.

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Apparently there will be another construction project going on at our original site. And it will be built right away.

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We will just have to do our project and then see what happens as we go.

Textiles

Just down the road we found a great little tailor. They will help us to produce the screens.

First we needed to find the right material.

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The tailor is located a down the road in the little Buyi village.

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Hanna and Johanne are in charge of the production of the screens. They cut out the material while the tailor sew the screens together with a varying number of assistants.

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Wood workshop

This week the group have worked different places. One at the school, and one at a wood factory/carpenter’s. It has been an challenging, yet extraordinary experience to work in a Chinese woodshop with Chinese people that don’t speak english at all. Luckily we have our translator Zhou.

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The factory offered to cut all the material for our pavilions in presise lenght and drill the holes for us, and that saves us a lot of time. Just think how time consuming it is to drill 1056 different holes in different beams. Good Seweryn and Bjørnar know all the sticks going into making all the pavilions so they could show the workers where to drill all the holes.

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Here’s the lovely couple that have cut, planed, drilled and oiled all the materials for us

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All projects need plants, and our project is not an exception. We were lucky enough to use some leftover material in the wood shop to make plant boxes.

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Some of them are pretty big!

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We have ordered some plants and trees, and were also planning on having a plant workshop with the kids at school. All the children are going to bring one plant from home to make them be a part of the project.

 

 

After all the materials were finished, the boss of the factory wanted pictures with us. It started with us, him and his grandchildren…

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… and ended up with an almost hour long photoshoot with all the people working at the factory, including the boss’s wife, his son and daughter-in-law, grandchildren and some children from the village.

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The first week in Puan

We have now started to work with the site. Or we have now started working with another site, since the one we planned to build on, is occupied by a toilet house and a garbage house.

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The plan we had needed to be changed, so we needed to measure the new site, and modify the project. Luckily for us, the modules are quite easy to rearrange in different ways.

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The children are very curious. What are these tall, blonde Norwegians doing?

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For inspiration, some of us went down to have a look at a local pavilion. They didn’t take any photos of the pavilion, because the local women were more interesting.

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Tarjei is always climbing. He’s like a monkey

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Even though we have to work a lot, there’s also room for eating

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and playing with the kids at the school. The goal is to make the children involved in the building of the project.

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In the weekend, we decided to go to a marked in the city center. It contained a lot of weird stuff! You could buy vegetables, meat, household items, souvenirs or go to the barber shop, dentist or hair cutter.

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Can you spot the chicken?

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A lot of old cute people

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And one group wanted to go mountain biking to look at the beautiful landscape. The weather was nice and warm! We had a lot of fun all day, and looked a lot at the beautiful landscape!

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Lovely trip!

The first day at the site

Monday morning we got into the car and headed for the local market for tools and supplies.

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We checked the available tools and prices. We will return to purchase them later.

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The materials market had a nice ceiling, but it was not very big. And they did not have the dimensions we need for our project. As a solution, we decided to drive to a nearby furniture factory.

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It was located in a small village, and it looked perfect. They can supply us with the timber we need, and they even offered to prepare the wood and cut it in the right lengths which would save us a lot of time.

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Factory 2

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Afterwords we were invited to dine with the head of the factory.

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The food was delicious. And the meat was very local.

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Then we went back to the school and met the children for the first time.

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When the kids had to go to classes we discussed the project together with the headmaster and the mayor.

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The Arrival at the site

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In Anshun we were picked up in a minibus. The closer we got to the site the more mountainous the terrain became. The roads were narrow and sort of meandering up and down the steep mountain sides. The dizzying heights and the sharp turns made the roads comparable to those in Sogndal in Norway.

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In the evening we arrived at the school and were met by a small committee. The headmaster at the school, the governor of the city, a government official and several more people.

I hope our small group managed to convey some small sense of politeness even though we all immediately hurried to the end of their school yard, to finally have a look at the place we’ve been working with for half a year.

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Seweryn and Hanna have actually been involved with this project for over a year, and still none of us have seen any more than some pixelated google maps images and the few small images included in the original competition folder.

The general impression is that the view is stunning and that the site looks smaller than anticipated. The old building, which we were told would be torn down at this point, is still standing. If it doesn’t get torn down quickly we need to rethink a few things.

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The school has some really good chefs who had prepared a wonderful meal for us. The food here is really delicious, and with good food and plenty to drink I think all of us felt right at home.

Then we climbed into the car again. We still did not know where we would be sleeping. To our astonishment they drove us to the nearest town, Puan, where they had booked rooms for us at the The Puan Spa Hotel. What? Here we had brought sleeping bags and mosquito nets and we were prepared for anything – anything but this: room service and embroidered slippers! We are very pleased though. Travelling with an official invitation in China can be quite comfortable it seems.

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On our journey to the school where we are going to build we decided to take the train, rather than fly. The site is situated in Guizhou proince. The train drives at 300 km/h and the journey takes 10 hours.

Apart from the comfortable train, the other thing that caught our attention was the gargantuan housing blocks, maybe 50 stories high and most of them completely identical to each other, that were strewn across the landscape nearly the entire stretch from Shanghai to Guizhou. Huge, concrete towers with innumerable dwellings for mile after mile.

The first impression of Guizhou is that it really feels like a different country than Shanghai and Beijing. The traffic make a lot of noise.

For dinner we went to a street market called Delicios street.

The next morning, before leavnig, we had time to visit another market street.

Trip to China!

We´re finally in China!

Or we´ve been here for a week now, but this is the first time we have Internet stable enough to blog.

Our first week in the big country in East has been fantastic! The first two days was spent getting used to the time difference, climate, culture, food and to just settle in. It´s been a lot of sightseeing and walking the first days.

Walking and shopping street with a lot of weird and funny stuff

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Aga and Kathrine found cute pig-ears on hair-pins in one of the shop. They truly look like pigs now

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More walking and learning to read the Chinese traffic

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The best thing about China is the delicious cheap food. Everybody have tasted a lot of new things, and we probably have more to come. Although the food sometimes is very spicy, we haven’t had any stomach problems yet. And we love sharing food, so we usually order a bunch of different dishes and share them 🙂

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Hanna especially likes the food here

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But we have been working a lot too, there´s still much to do. Our local girl Kevin and local guy Zhou (Joe) managed to find a spot for us to work at CAFA, China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. It was fun to see how other schools work and to meet some of the students. The picture under shows the CAFA Art Museum.

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Here´s us working at CAFA. An improvised office in an empty classroom with bad Internet connection and no heat. But we loved it! And no one can stop us from having a great time as long as we get food and breaks.

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Some of us are trying to learn Chinese to easier communicate with the locals. Aga´s handwriting is so beautiful and she learns fast. Perhaps she can take over the job as a translator?

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On Sunday we printed the IKEA-catalog, all the cut lists and the «we´re from Norway»-booklet we’ve made to make the building and communication easier.

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One day some of us went to the Badaling Great Wall two hours outside Beijing, and it was an amazing experience! It was exhausting and we were really tired on the way back, but totally worth it! And we were singing “Ill make a man out of you” from Mulan the entire trip.

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The guide said that if you haven’t been to the Great Wall, you haven’t been to China. And if you have walked on the wall, you can call yourself a hero.

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And since we´re tourists, we had to take the «we´ve been to the Great Wall» picture.

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And jumping picture

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Another day was spent in The Forbidden City. It´s huge and massive, and it´s impressive to think about the amount of work to build it.


While everybody was taking pictures of the city, some other tourists focused on something else… Johanne and Kathrine are quite popular as you can see!

You often say that Chinese people are proud of their land and culture, but Bjørnar in his Marius sweater shows that Norwegians can be proud of their culture too.

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Buddhist temple we’ve visited

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Now we’re looking forward to go to Shanghai with high speed train to experience a different kind of asian city!