Monday, 11 February 2013

Community PPVs - Alpha 2

Alpha 2: Gravity water feed project - Bulud Batu
Lou, Jonny and Connor

Alpha 2's PPV took place at Bulud Batu which is a small community of 150 villagers in the Katong region of Sabah. Along with our project partner PACOS – the Partners of Community Organisations in Sabah - we spent two nights in the community assessing the viability of a gravity water feed system. 

Jonny, Lou and Connor

Bulud Batu is an unusual village for many reasons. Instead of the traditional JKK system they have chosen to elect a leader (rather than it being an inherited position). Even more unusually, the leader they have elected is a woman. 

The head woman - Rohida is responsible for four other villages in addition to her own which means she represents over a 1000 people. Rohida is one of eight children and despite having older brothers, she was elected because she is so passionate about their land rights. She spent a lot of time with her father and grandfather when she was growing up and as a result as inherited their knowledge and passion. 

Our house
Bulud Batu means village at the foot of the rock. There is an enormous rock in the forest which is extremely sacred to the village. The full name of the village is actually Bulud Batu Montueon. Montueom refers to a mythical horn-billed creature that lives in a lake near the rock. The villagers are extremely respectful of this area and have many practices to ensure they don't disturb the spirits. 

The villagers
We were welcomed into the village so warmly and representatives from each of the five villages were there to greet us when we arrived. We introduced ourselves individually (with PACOS help translating!) and learnt a bit about each other. We were extremely pleased to find out there is an actual 'David Beckham' in the village! 

This Raleigh project is in-keeping with one of the Millennium Development Goals to cut in half the number of people without access to running water and achieve safe drinking water and adequate sanitation by 2015. As such, with funding from Coca Cola, Bulud Batu, was a clear choice for a sustainable gravity water feed system and our days were spent assessing the water sources with PACOS and the villagers. This community of approximately 150 people (and neighbouring villages totaling approximately 1000 people) currently rely heavily on collecting rain water or nearby wells for water. However, the village have identified three possible water sources approx. 2km away, one of which currently has a pipe lying in it, so when it is full, water does flow to the Head Woman’s house.

The community were fascinated by our attempts to put up the radio and were kind enough to help us set it up. After several failed attempts they offered us their mobile phones!!! After the jam packed days we were lucky enough to be treated to amazing dinners cooked by Rohida and the women in the village. Despite their best efforts, the Raleigh rations didn't quite match their amazing chicken curry, banana leaves and anchovies, and, as it was a special occasion... lizard!!! 

The whole experience was extremely humbling and really brought to life how important the work we will be doing there is to ensuring the village are able to protect and live on their land. We were welcomed so warmly it was quite hard to leave after only two days... I can only image how hard it will be after 10 weeks!

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Lou-Lou! I only just found this post - so great to see photographs so that I can picture what you're doing and where you are. It looks beautiful. I've been studying the Millennium Development Goals in my development course, so can't wait to hear about it from your perspective! Miss you! Elaine. (ps. great to see you rocking the gap-yah headscarf.) xx