Saturday, 31 March 2012

Artistic Pipeworks

A2 Kampung Pantai and Lihing 
This morning I woke up in a pool of my own dribble, sweating profusely in my longs, lying uncomfortably close to the venturer on my left, with another venturer laying at my feet... oh the joys of close Raleigh living! 
Despite the cosy sleeping arrangements, I am having a ball here in the village of Kampung Pantai. Our group has been given a hugely warm welcome to this village - the kids are a constant presence in our living quarters, the adults regularly deliver home cooked food to our door and we have been given an especially warm welcome from the dogs (although that might be something to do with Fauzie feeding them our bananas daily).

We are here to finish off 2 existing gravity water feeds and to build an entirely new gravity water feed. When we complete this work, we will be turning on the taps in homes across two villages and in a hospital, giving the community much needed running water, something which I most certainly take for granted back in the UK.
It's official: I am now fully trained in mixing cement! If you ever need a dam building I'm your woman and I can lay piping for you any day. Even if it is 40 degrees (although you will be required to bring me juice with an oral rehydration sachet).
Alongside working on the gravity water feeds, we have begun giving daily English classes to the village, which have been very popular. Jasmine and Will gave a riveting lesson on that classic topic of the weather; it went down a storm. 
Today things became even more exciting, as we took a break from the usual routine of lugging gravel up hills, to help Ed Gregory and his creative team with the Raleigh Art Project. A 40ft canvas was set up in the community hall about a mile down the road, in the joined village of Kampung Lihing. 

The aim was to get the locals to design and paint their own section of the canvas, to represent their community. There was also a second, smaller canvas, 9ft long,  that the community painted.
Well I knew it would be fun, but what a turnout! It would seem that word had spread far, as adults and children alike turned up from 4 different villages. Their enthusiasm for the project was contagious and thus I did end up having a goatee beard and mono brow painted on my face, much to the horror of the children (although they did delight in scrubbing the paint off).

The rest of my group also got stuck in; Dan quickly made friends with a fellow Liverpool football supporter from Lihing and Jeremy posed in traditional costume brought by one of the villagers (he could probably start a modelling portfolio with the number of photographs taken). The fun continued into the evening, ending with singing and dancing in the church, encouraged by Alpha 2!
 So. Although I have come into this community to help install a gravity water feed system, I think in reality, these wonderful people have already given me far more than I could ever hope to give them. Their unbelievable warmth has made me realise that I am privileged to be here. It really doesn't matter where you do your business in life, flushing toilet or long drop - all that really matters is having a fantastic bunch of people around you and doing your damned best to be the most awesome person you can be to them in return. All you need is Love guys, all you need is Love (that's the brand of our toilet paper by the way). 
Speaking of which, where has the Love got to? It's business time. 

Written by Jenny Foster, Alpha 2
Photography by Ed Gregory

Jenny also features in this very exciting VIDEO...!


Craig Rowley said...

Awe Jenny, what an amazing post! Wonderful picture at the end too. I'm so proud of you and love hearing you talk about how wonderful the community is out there. One week left and you can come back and tell me even more! I love you x

GengQian said...

Jeremy, bring me to the kampung please!!! you must be having a super great time there! Photos please! xoxo

geng qian.

Nubia Cruz de Hawes said...

To Jenny Foster, PM’s Tim and Caroline,
Aaron S, Charlotte P, Jeremy C, Daniel O, Emma B, Gary U, Jasmine H, , Michael H-C, Will S and Fauzy B-N... ALPHA 2

Just a little note to say THANK YOU
(Gracias) for the article "artistic pipeworks". My son Michael Hawes is with you in Alpha 2 and it is a fantastic feeling to know that all of you are there helping these wonderful people...WE ARE ALL VERY PROUD OF YOU!! WELL DONE!! I'm sure this experience will be with all of you forever!!

Heleen Hoogeveen said...

Message for Willemijn van Daal Alpha 9

Lieve Will, even een berichtje onder de foto's van het project van Alpha 2, in de kampong waar jij de vorige fase geweest bent. Wat ziet het er geweldig uit. Begrijp dat je de mensen enorm mist. Jij zult nu aan je laatste stukje track bezig zijn. Ik hoop je snel weer te spreken. Ben heel erg benieuwd naar je verhalen. Hier verder weinig nieuws. Het mooie weer is voorbij. Hoop dat het verbetert met het Paasweekend. Roos en ik gaan een nachtje naar opa en oma in Vrouwenpolder (ook schoonmaken!). Veel liefs,
xxx mama