Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Building a kindergarten in Kampung Alab

In construction: Alpha 1's kindergarten

Home: the Raleigh House

Hello from Alpha 1 who are making great progress building a kindergarten in Kampung Alab. Watch their video message with individual hellos here.

Introducing Alab
Alab is a really lively village, with around 600 villagers who belong to one of Sabah's 39 indigenous communities and speak Malay and two of the 50 dialects that are traditional to Sabah's indigenous communities. There is a mix of practicing Christian and Muslim families who mainly work on local agriculture on local paddy fields and farm land. 
Local paddy field.
There is a primary school here for children aged 6 and above and the secondary school aged children go to school in the nearest large town. Having a kindergarten in the village will mean that local children get the opportunity to get to the level of education they need to pass the Malaysian Government exam to enter primary school. And the building will also be used as a community centre for adult learning.
The group live in the heart of the village in a large and quirky wooden house with a garden. Locals pop by and they have regular visits from herds of Kampung cows, roosters, chickens and chicks and a lot of friendly dogs.
An old car holds up washing lines and a tarp for shade in the quirky Raleigh house garden.

Playing games in the Raleigh house garden.

Alpha 1's bedroom.

At the front door: PM's Fern and Nat.
There is a generation gap in the village – the majority of the middle generation (leaving school age to forties) have left to work on the peninsula and in cities such as Kuala Lumpur. The rural way of life means that many of the elder generation don’t read or write and so access to early and later education will be invaluable.
The village has a JKK - leader of the village and a village chief. Both are really welcoming and accepted Alpha 1 as part of the community.

It is a diverse and exciting place to learn more about indigenous community’s way of life and the village is working together with Raleigh to build the kindergarten.
A day in the life
A typical day for the group here is varied - building work from early morning until the sun gets too hot
at midday has been be anything from draining holes on the work site so they can be filled with cement, preparing wood, hammering in posts, painting walls, preparing the roof. During a break in the middle of the day the group has lunch and play games with local children before going back to work around 3pm.
Stephanie, Rowan, Lilien and Evelien paint wall panels.

Lilien, Stephanie and Killian drain a hole on the work site that will be filled with cement.

Oli and Rowan discuss plans for the day with locals.

Hats off at the end of the day.
And at 5 O’clock everyday there is a football match.

Bobby in goals.
Then it's washing time before longs o’clock at 6pm in the beautiful river.
Killian washes at the river...

...under a rainbow.
Around Alab the work is on rubber farms and paddy fields and the community are known as ‘river people’. The longest river in Sabah and second largest in Malaysia runs through Alab - the Kinabatangan river but is known locally as L'bau after being named that by British colonialists.  

If you look beyond the river there are hills with new trees growing. Over six generations ago there was a big fire in the village, killing ancient trees and meaning that the hills on the backdrop of Alab are home to new trees. The community are very proud of their rural craft and constantly find new ways of nurtuting and developing land through ‘rotational agriculture’ and plant grafting. We got to try some of pumpkin and tapioca grown from seeds that are unique to Alab at a talk given by some of the elders of the community about the history of the village.

Tasting local food.
Noodles, pumpkin and tapioca.
Learning more about Alab's history.
Chia and Stephanie.
After dinner evenings are spent giving English lessons, learning local handicrafts, language and playing games. Beading is popular here and Alpha 1 have a huge selection of beaded rings, bracelets and necklaces.  
The creative environment here means there is lots of music making, painting and experimental cooking.
Matt and his Alab bling
Creative hands: PM's Matt and Nat
The loop will be visiting Alpha 1 later this week and will be treated to Alpha 1 food and entertainment specialities. We’ll have a blog up from the loop when they get back on Friday.

When you leave Alab you feel like you've been part of the village and community for months, even years and, like all our projects - you want to go back there and tell everyone you know to visit.


Sue Hooper said...

To Matt H
Alpha 1
Great to see the new photos and the video - it all looks so much fun but I'm sure it's a lot of hard work too. Very impressed by the arm muscles ;-) and feeling very proud of you. Have a great time.
Love, Mum

chicago short sale said...

Really appreciate this post. It’s hard to sort the good from the bad sometimes, but I think you’ve nailed it!

Eric said...

To Rowan Alpha 1. Hi mate - great to hear from you the other day. Blogs are great and loving the photos. Sharon sent a message but it hasn't appeared so she will send another. Lily also sends her love and is missing you loads and counting down the days till you are back..... but then again, she is also counting down the days to Christmas so you are in competition with the big fella in the red suit!!!. All well with us. See you soon. Dad xxxxx

Marianne Voorhoeve said...

Voor Stephanie van Berckel Alpha 1
Hoera hoera van harte gefeliciteerd ! Zou er een locale taart zijn en special entertainment ? Wij wensen jou in ieder geval veel gezelligheid. We zijn erg benieuwd hoe jij het hebt. We volgen ook jouw avonturen op het blog. Het is allemaal wel stoer wat jullie doen. Ongetwijfeld een ervaring die je niet zult vergeten.
Veel liefs van de Voorhoeve- family

Anonymous said...

To Paige   Alpha 6
Hi Paige, hope you are well and that you enjoyed your trek through the jungle. Bet you're looking forward to dive island now. We can't wait to see pictures and read the blog of what you all got up to. With regards to Ukcat,none of the universities are releasing cut off scores until next year. I've phoned customs and they've said you can bring the parang into this country as long as it's no longer than 50cm and is obvious it's a knife. Pack it well and put it in the hold. We've received your 3rd and 4th letters, lovely to hear about your adventures. Keep them coming.
Another letter was sent to you Monday. Take care sweetheart. Love you lots. Mum,Dad & Blaise.

Anonymous said...

Happy Happy birthday Steeef!
We denken aan je, en sturen je eeen groooooooooote verjaardags zoennnn!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mam, Pap, Piet, Aad en Co en Boogs

Diederik en Therese said...

To Stephanie van Berckel, Alpha 1.
lieve Steef, hiep hiep hoera, 19 jaar alweer, gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag! heb hele goede herinneringen aan je 18e feest! hoop dat je een mooie dag hebt, uniek om je verjaardag in de jungle te vieren, geniet! liefs Diederik en Therese

constance van berckel said...

Steffieeee!!!! hi liefje
in case this gets read out to you on the radio ill write in english haha.
love you so much, happy happy birthday, i hope it reaches you in time! wonder what kind of special exotic birthday cake you might get! hope youre having fun, just saw the alpha 1 'hello' video and it sure looks like it! miss you loads, and i wish i could be there with you building kindergartens and what not! its absolutely freezing here in holland but at least its sunny! biig birthday kiss xxxxxxxx dag schattie

Anonymous said...

Hippy Hoppy Happy Birthday to our dear Stephs far far away!! Great to see your news!! Hope you have a wonderful day in the heat! Here it's cold (0C) but sunny!
huge kiss from Sophy Frederic Alexander Xenia Mix and Loops! xxxx

Anonymous said...

Hi Lieve Steef, Happy birthday!!! Maybe for the second time, but don't know if I did it right the first time, so better be safe than sorry. Have fun! liefs Nancy

Anonymous said...

to stephanie van berckel

Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeefiiiee!!!!! Gefelicifloppert lieve schat!!!! Hoop dat je t daar een beetje kan vieren en er meer mensen dan muggen je komen feliciteren!! De fotos zien er allemaal echt super leuk en coolie uit! Lieverd als je weer bereikbaar bent gaan we even skypen ofso want me mizz you! Have fun daaro en q en ik drinken hier vnv wijntje op je! XXXXXXXXXXX juul

Ann said...

Looking good 'son'shine!(Rowan Alpha1)Great photo's and video diary again. I have told loads of people to look at the blog. Can't believe that you are soon to be home and back working in Topman for Christmas. What a whole different world away eh......Love you loads and can't wait to see you... you have a very proud mother.xxxxxxx

Annemiek said...

Hè Ol, Zag ik het goed heb je nu een knotje in je lange blonde manen? Ziet er wel exotisch uit hoor! Zit nu in mijn bed in Fontainebleau, waar ik ben voor 4 dagen op INSEAD en las het blog over Alpha1. Het weer is mistig en koud aan het worden. De bladeren bijna allemaal van de bomen. Geniet maar van de warmte daar in de tropen. Dikke zoen, je moeder

Annemiek said...

I forgot to say that THE last comment was for Olivier Roos, in Alpha's 1, as is this one. Ol spreek je al een beetje Maleis? Is wel zo handig als je hierna nog naar Indonesië wil gaan. Gisteren heeft Nederland met 3-0 verloren van Duitsland. Heb het niet gezien, maar dacht dat je dat misschien wel wilde weten. Ik heb de IPad bij me in F'bleau, dus kan ik ook vanuit Frankrijk bloggen. GAAF HÈ! Ben reuze benieuwd hoe het met je is en hoop dat er gauw weer een brief komt. Houd je taai en groet aan Liline. Mam

Guy said...

Daisy Cooke (Alpha 2)

Loved your letter last night, was amazing! Happy quarter of a decade baby! :) thinking of you. i love you x

Sanne said...


WAUW, wat is het daar prachtig! En wat een leuke foto's. Ik zie dat jullie een school aan het bouwen zijn, supergaaf. Ik zie ook dat je het daar erg naar je zin hebt. En maak je vooral niet druk, ook zonder make-up zie je er prachtig uit. Met mij gaat alles goed, m'n cijfers zijn redelijk en ik heb al veel nieuwe vrienden gemaakt op het VWO. Ik hoop dat je mij en de rest van de meiden een beetje mist, ik mis jou in ieder geval wel. Ik wens je heel veel plezier met al die schattige kindjes, en ik zie je volgend jaar!
Love you, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Sanne! <3

Sue Hooper said...

To Matt H
Alpha 1
In the UK it's still 17th but in Sabah your 30th birthday has already arrived, Matt, so we hope you have an amazing and memorable day. Happy birthday!
With much love and a birthday hug.
Mum and Dad

GengQian said...

Chia sin, ah Keam & Lisa,

My post was kena tendang balik!!! sobs...Anyways, looking at the photos, I bet you girls will have a good time!

Can't wait to hear stories from you all!

geng qian

Sanne said...

by the way, my post was meant for Evelien, Alpha 1!

Eline & Hansa & Monik said...

Hoe is het? Heb je het naar je zin daar? Zo te zien op de foto's wel! Ik heb echt hele leuke foto's gezien. ik merk wel dat je een leuk meisje hebt ontdekt waar je verdacht vaak naast zit, haha! Hansa en mam vinden dat ik er op lijk....
Je zit wel echt in een mooie omgeving zeg.. Ben je nu een school aan het bouwen?!? Dat is echt sick! Geniet nog maar ff daar want voor je het weet ben je weer terug haha! nou tot snel he neef!
Xxxxxxxxxxxx Lien!

ha schatje, nu mag ik even. ben zo blij om je blije koppie op de foto's te zien, wel aan de magere kant. Eet je wel een beetje ? wat een reuzeblad heb je gevonden, waar is de Eva die erbij hoort ???
heel veel plezier daar in de jungle en voorzichtig onder water straks,
dikke kus en omhelzing van mamsie

Ha lief neefje van me. Ik hoef je niet te vragen of je het leuk hebt. Krijg je wel genoeg aandacht of moet ik ingrijpen. Ik zou willen dat ik daar was samen met mijn kreeftneefje. Zoeken ze nog leiders? Veel plezier and take care xxxxx

Andy/Paula/Jazz/Ellie said...

Bobby Alpha 1.

Hi Bobs loved the personal introduction and glad to hear the blow up bed is proving helpful!

You are looking really healthy the food and hard work must be doing yu good, how are the guns coming on, couldnt see from the photo give us a pose for the next one?

How many goals have u let in then? United drew last night 2-2 with Benfica and City lost ha ha !

Edwin borrowed your bike and it came back all serviced! Thinking of getting you some new wheels for xmas what do yu think getting advice from Edwin he said to get profiles!!In fact he loved your bike so much hes gone and bought he sae frame!!

Nice to see you looking happy again! have sent some money for you to spend but cant get any more so make sure you save it for the final party! Bet your looking forward to the final phase Diving !!!
We are missing you loads and cant wait to have you back for xmas!


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