Image: When you're going to build your house, be sure to use solid bricks
Bricks are the fundamental building blocks of a structure.  If you don’t have good bricks, you won’t have a good house.  It doesn’t matter if you have great plumbing, a sturdy roof, a fancy security system, etc.  So, make sure you have good bricks.
 
For a person, good “bricks” are virtues like patience, generosity, kindness, gratitude, etc.  If you have these, you will be a strong, good, “solid” person.  If your “bricks” are things like self-centeredness, stinginess, grumpiness, etc., then no matter how much other stuff you “build” (cool toys, good school grades, popular friends, etc.), you will not be a strong, good person.  And, you will not be happy.
 
     -The Godmother
About construction in Cambodia: Cambodian bricks are curious. Unlike those where most of us come from, four holes run the full length of the brick long-ways making it such that there is more hole than brick! You can imagine what that does to the strength.

In the past five years there has been a construction boom in Cambodia, up 78 percent since last year to be exact. Mostly Chinese companies are throwing up apartments, condos and retail buildings like flapjacks at Waffle House. Motivation ranges from opportunism to money laundering. Whatever the case, Cambodians are paying the price. One such way is injuries and deaths because of shortcuts and shoddy construction. Just recently, 28 construction workers died in tourist haven Sihanoukville, 36 died at a guest house in coastal Kep, another three in an apartment building in the capitol and the list goes on. When bricks and mortar are more important than people, a society is not so stable.
Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
 
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these are; otherwise, unsubscribve below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I work. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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