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The 17 destroyed homes being rebuilt at a Phuket Sea Gypsy village

Phuket Students Give Razed Village a New Life

Friday, August 7, 2009
Then and Now Photo Album Above

IN A TRIBUTE to Phuket's ability to recover from disaster, the village of Hin Lookdeaw is rising again, thanks to students from Phuket Technical College.

Twenty-seven students are living in tents, alongside the families whose 17 homes were destroyed when fire swept through the Sea Gypsy village, on the north of the island, on June 29.

Project leader, teacher Pean Tongchai, said: ''The students have been working here for a while now and the new houses have very solid foundations. They will be much nicer and much safer than the old timber huts.''

Each of the new homes will cost 170,000 baht with large contributions from the Governor's special fund, the OrBorTor Mai Khao, the island's OrBorJob and extra help from NGOs and foundations.

Roads and footpaths are also being added, taking the total cost to about three million baht. Khun Pean estimates it will be finished in a month or so. The village is on the east coast of the island's north, close to the Tatchatchai checkpoint.

''The Governor comes often to check on progress,'' he said. ''Because the sea comes in with the regular high tide under the houses, the foundations have been the most time-consuming part.

''It's certainly good training for the students.''

Their work on the site coincides with a term that they have to spend on practical projects, away from schoolbooks.

''It's not much fun for the boys, living in tents without even television,'' he said. ''But they are enjoying the fishing and other village activities.''

Phuketwan talked to the boys, and they had no complaints. It's an activity they were enjoying together, and taking pleasure in the accomplishment.

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