Who am I?

My name is Peter. I’m a twenty-seven year old student of cultural anthropology from Munich in Germany. Until April 2008 I was doing a volunteer fieldwork at the Vang Vieng Organic Farm in Laos:


Part of my work there was the organization of a mud-house building-site. As you can follow on this blog. We did the earth-bricks, the blue-prints for the house and the construction-work on our own. The main reason for that project was not just to build another house. It was more about that my two Lao friends Onkeo and Goe and me learned how to do that. It was a very intense process with many scares, but every single one was it worth.


How the earthbricks found me

The first touch

A few years ago I was traveling the first time to Laos, where I stayed a week at the Vang Vieng Organic Farm (www.laofarm.org).

At that time they had built the first small adobe house. I was so astonished by the charm of the smurf-house-style they had used. When I left, they built a community center for the people from Phoudindaeng-village, a beautiful library, a seed storehouse, and one more wonderful dwelling. All by using adobes. Last year I came back and I was impressed by the advances they had made. I was dreaming about joining them one day and I wanted to learn how to construct a earthbrick house. I asked Mr. Thi, the owner of the farm, if it is possible and he just said: “Oh yes, You can come next year, we need some more houses.”

So back in Germany I made all steps to let that dream become true.

After my fieldwork-agreement arrived from Phoudindaeng I could take a semester off from studying and prepare to go to Asia again. I read “building with earth” by Prof. Gernot Minke and found out that the Building Research Institute in Kassel/Germany (http://www.asl.uni-kassel.de/~feb/) where he was teaching the last decades, offered a practical and theoretical course for beginners. During that one week at the FEB, we did not simply learn how to make earthbricks, but also, how to bring up a bricking, work with mud-strings, dress a wall with mud-plaster, bring up a nubian ton, find the right mixture of clay, silt and sand to get the perfect consistency for our loam.

Even after that preparation, I am still very nervous, if my urban hands will have the skills to learn how to build with earth. We’ll see!


4 Responses to “Who am I?”

  1. mas tom jogja Says:

    anthropology on the move… 😉

    danke vielmals fuer Euren leckeren Tee! Ist schon auf dem Menue unseres Shelters fuer kranke anak jalanan. Ja, Du hoerst richtig. my dream came true, und nun hab ich gemeinsam mit den freunden ein shelter fuer hiv-positive kids…

    proud und burnt out,

  2. seas piez!!! seas mas tom!

    wär gern bei Euch! Ihr Ethnologen, Ihr!
    Seid fest gedrückt, und lassts Euch ned ausburnen!!
    Euer Pi

  3. Christine Says:

    I’m so proud of you, Peter! Keep up the good work.

    P.S. Can you build me a little house in Laos? 🙂

  4. sylvie Says:

    hi peter ! you are great german ! always keep that desire to preview life and authenticity

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