Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kindergarten Project Update (& The Loop)


I’m briefly back in at Fieldbase after spending five days in Bonor Sook, which is the gorgeous village where the kindergarten (Alpha 1) is being built.

Alpha 1: Digby, Hogan, Daniel, Lee, Rob, Belle, Lucy, Beerend, Hatty, Josefien and James
with PM's Jude, Alyrene and Natalie

The journey in via bus and then 4x4 cars was amazing. The breathtaking views had everyone really excited, despite the fact we’d got up at 4am to be ready to leave basecamp at 6am promptly.

The views are not done justice in this picture

We arrived a little after 2pm on the 19th and were welcomed by the villagers who helped us unload the cars into our new home – the community hall. This was a really big luxurious space which was quickly divided into sleeping and eating communal areas. The Project Managers (PMs) Alyrene, Jude and Natalie were delighted to find that since their project planning visit (PPV) the locals had installed a tap connected to the rain water collection for us to drink from and cook with and built us an outside kitchen area. With a long drop already installed, the kindergarten site is perfect, which as the kindergarten will be constructed just off the back of the community hall is a blessing.

Alpha 1's afternoon welcome snack
The group planning the layout of the hall

Setting up mozzi nets and the sleeping area

After an afternoon settling in, at 6pm (longs o’clock) the locals invited us to their meeting room for a second and more formal welcome dinner of banana chips, banana fritters, crackers and something resembling pink and coconut nougat (but a slightly wetter consistency).

Hogan, Beerend, Lucy, James and Daniel and our welcome dinner
We were each asked to write our names on a white board, along with where we were from, so they could learn who we were. They even went to the extent of taking a photo of each of us to help jog their memories. As I was sitting next to Yeoel, our local contact I asked him to get the villagers to each introduce themselves to us as well. Many of them were a little nervous and shy, but all were willing to interact with us and it was a lovely welcome to their small community.

After a luxurious lie in – until 7.30am – the day was organised around group planning sessions to ensure we were ready for Thursday when the locals were eager to get the building started. The venturers drew up a timetable of when and what they would be doing each day, factoring in the locals working preferences, English lessons for the community, playing sports with the kids and some time off. They did a great job and even incorporated a chores schedule for the group.

So far the timetable has worked brilliantly and we have enjoyed some great food! Who knew Raleigh Rations could taste so good? The standard has definitely been set for my next project site visit and I must say a big thank you to Beerend and Rob particularly, who got up early to make us all scrambled egg and beans for breakfast on my last morning.

The group is loving the interaction with the local children. Football and volleyball went down a treat – despite the children being far better than the Venturers and PMs.

The Bonor Sook kids showing Digby and Daniel how to play football
The English lessons are also going really well and the kindergarten kids have already been taught ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ and ‘If your happy and you know it’. In the lessons with the older children, Hatty and Connor (aka Hogan) were surprised and delighted by how well they grasped the basics and the group are very excited about the future sessions.

Day 1: Before the work started
The team assembled and ready for work
The building work got properly underway on Thursday and we cleared the area; dug 15, 2ft deep square holes for the supports and then positioned the posts in place. Our host country Venturers (HCVs) Daniel and Lee are absolute stars and are insuring communication between the locals and the group is clear - as the sign language can be a little tricky at times.

The girl hole that at least 7 of us worked on
Rob being supervised by the Head of the Village

The work was (and is) tough and we ached in places we didn’t know we could ache but were buzzing! We were grateful for the break (and a nap) between 12pm and 2pm as it was very hot, but with someone constantly on hydration duty we finished as scheduled at 4pm.

Pleased with our first day’s work we promptly went down to the river for a soak and wash to cool down before longs. Our review sessions each evening found people in high spirits and eager to do more of the same.

Success! 15 (2ft deep) holes!
On Friday, after more translation between local Carpenter John and our ‘Alpha 1 Translators,’ we used the plumb line to align the posts and then filled in the holes. Getting the base of the structure just right took time but after the arrival of the materials in the afternoon it was once again time to pop down to 'the creek' to chill out and cool down.

The most recent photo of construction (after two days work)

I have been so impressed by the fast progress of the Kindergarten project and am really looking forward to keeping up to date with its construction so make sure you have subscribed to receive email notification of the blog updates and stay in touch with your comments. 

There will be a general update coming from all the projects shortly and as I am off to both Alpha 6's bio diversity site and Alpha 2's gravity water feed site over the next 10 days, there will be a full update next week! In addition to this, I am please to inform you that the first Loop is also starting from Fieldbase tomorrow morning (Country Programme Manager, Ellie; Kath from Admin and Josh from Logistics in one of the Bravos) and will be travelling to and around the six static sites, there will be more updates to come - hopefully including some guest blog posts from our Venturers. 


Charlotte Jones said...

To James Bryer, 13C Alpha One.

Heyy Jamesy!!
eeeep! It looks and sounds like you’re having an absolutely incredible time!! I’ve been reading about the Raleigh Olympics, and the Kindergarten you’re building! Hehehe it really made me laugh when I read that your team won the race “through an imaginative approach to splashathon rules.” ... hahahaa!!
And I love love love the photo of you guys standing in the 2ft deep holes you dug! I’m so proud of you, and I can’t wait to hear about all your amazing stories!
I’ve been trying to get up to scratch on AOE during this half term- hehee I can’t wait to play against you when you’re back! (I’m still a little noob though hahaa!!) We all go back to college tomorrow, and then on Tuesday I’m going to Twickenham to audition for Rambert! They only offer 15 spaces for girls, but it’s worth a try! (My dance teacher has also told me about this dance company she think I would be suited too- they’re holding open auditions in April- so I might give that a go!)
Oooh! And Buster’s been keeping Red Ted lots of company... he’s lying on my bed snuggled up to him right now! I also cooked a Roast dinner the other day- mmmm it was so yummy! I’ll have to cook it for you when you’re home!!
I’ve also been writing in my little book every night- I can’t wait for you to see it!!
Sue texted me earlier, saying that your CD’s have been selling so so well! I’ll hopefully pop round sometime next week to burn some more! Eeeeek!!
Thinking of you lots and lots Jamesy! I miss and love you so so much,
Love, little bella-dog girl xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

sally cassar said...

for Christian cassar 13C alpha 7 hi son it all looks amazing. saw ur photo yippee !Raleigh say no parcels can be sent, shame about camera- share someones ? will call them tomorrow. england smashed france in rugby -on a roll!Miss u loads enjoy the trek love u mum x

Maysoon Sajdi said...

To Jude : Alpha1- 13C

Hello Judy. How are you love?We miss you. We are following the progress through the blog. It is amazing. We are glad that you look happy. We are fine. Everybody sends his greetings to you. I went to Samah henna yesterday it was nice.She was happy. Lina had a great time in Amman.She is back in Dubai safe and sound.
Ok honey, take care.
Love Mom and Dad

Lucy Cox said...

Heyhey Rach, this is Luc!

Everything you've been doing sounds amazing - I'm so proud and excited for you! I catch myself thinking about you at least once a day.. wondering what you're doing at that second!(Always much more interesting than actually listening in lectures..;))

Miss you lots, and will miss you more in the Easter holidays!
Remember that its supposed to be a challenge if you're finding it hard - and be proud of what you've already achieved!

Love you lots

Lucy Cox said...

Heyhey Rach, this is Luc!

Everything you've been doing sounds amazing - I'm so proud and excited for you! I catch myself thinking about you at least once a day.. wondering what you're doing at that second!(Always much more interesting than actually listening in lectures..;))

Miss you lots, and will miss you more in the Easter holidays!
Remember that its supposed to be a challenge if you're finding it hard - and be proud of what you've already achieved!

Love you lots

FloorvB said...

Liselot Bekendam. Gliesch! Ik hoop dat je het naar je zin hebt en ik weet zeker dat je hele goede dingen aan het doen bent! Al beren leren zwemmen? Wel wilde ik je laten weten dat Rinus een nieuwe singel heeft: op de bakfiets naar Tirol! Dikke kussen Boets ps. ik had ook al ergens anders een berichtje gezet maar zag daarna dit. Ik heb dus geen idee waar ik het moet plaatsen maar doe het maar lekker overal! Hier mag ik veel meer naar je schrijven! Dus ga ik nog even door. Hier staat dat het nu heel regenachtig is, maar jij hebt je waterdichte zakjes toch! die je met mij hebt gekocht, haha. Ik vind het wel echt knap van je hoor dat je dit doet!! Maar ik mis je wel!!! Liefs xxx Floor

mariam said...

Razlan!! (Daniel Razlan, alpha1)
Thank God for this blog! Everyday we check to see whether there are updates. Got lucky today coz there was a long write up on Alpha 1! Well done on having done so much already in buiding the kindergarten. Love the pics. Am sure it is a lot of hard work. I also see you playing football with the children.. Just up your street!. Must be fun! Taking about football,....Results update: After all the horrible results lately, we finally manage to beat Villa 2-0 (carzola) , City beat Chelsea 2-0 last night.. Which means they are only 2 points ahead of us. Spurs play tonight.. If they win, they will be 2 points ahead of chelsea.. It has become a close fight for 3rd and 4th spot. Everton lost ground as they lost to Newcastle i think it was. AND..Swansea beat Bradford 5-0 in finals last night :)
We have not been up to much. Razmy had his 4th year ball on sat night. Bam is busy with school. Exams only 2 months away! Dad is going to Melbourne on Sunday for a week. So its just the 2 of us at home. Planning her 16th birthday... She is not sure what she wants to do yet. Probably have it at the club hse or KLGCC.
I hope you get this when the loop visits .... They are bringing treats! Wonder what??!!
Enjoy every minute and make the most of your time there.! You will miss it when you get back(according to Razmy). Stay safe. We miss you loads.

Lots of love, hugs and kisses Mummy, Dad, Bam... and Razmyxxxxxxxxx
Will post more football updates... Adn print out table as prominsed xxxx

Anonymous said...

message for Sam Griffin Beat

Hello Sambo, this is my third message and they do not seem to appear, am I doing something wrong? dont want to repeat all I have already typed but I assume you now know we beat france at twickers 20 -13 first half a bit scrappy second half we owned.

The frog man the council sent round to eradicate the noisy frogs, ( they are not indidigenous and are killing all the local frogs) he came last note and got 34!!! can you believe it!! there are loads more and he is coming back tonite, he is from france, which made me chuckle xx please give me a call when you can, love you loads Mum xxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

For Natalie Toms, Alpha 1

Hey Nat Alpha 1! Glad to see you've been graded into an appropriate group for your school-building abilities. Working the glasses well. We missed you at Cable last week - saw that guy with the cap - remember?! Most exciting event to date is Mike getting a shoutout from Cerys Matthews on 6 Music. That and the downgrade, obvs. Treasury falling apart without you. Heni and I are off to Thailand in a couple of weeks, will be thinking of you in my infinity pool... Will pick up some tips for you in Bangkok. No, not those sort of tips... Other good news - went past your house the other week and no sign of snakes. So, Natalie-shaped hole aside, all good here.
Lots of love
Lucy xxx

Razmy said...

Daniel Razlan- Alpha 1

Dear Lan,

Looks like you're having loads of fun. Skyping with mum and bambi as I'm typing this. Mum told you the wrong score by the way. We beat Villa 2-1.

Not much happening here. Been busy in hospital. Doing obs & gyn. Def not my thing. Paeds next. Should be good.

I miss Raleigh! Make the most of it. You're def gonna miss it.

Hope all is well! Take care and be safe. Keep your feet dry! xx


Anonymous said...

Liefste Beer( Alpha 1 ) Wat een bijzondere dingen maak je toch mee. Ik zie je telkens zo blij op al die foto's staan. Zo leuk om dat te zien. Wel heftig voor jullie dat er iemand in de village is overleden en mooi dat jullie bij de begrafenis mochten zijn. Als ik jou zo in die bouwput zie staan, ben ik zo trots als een pauw. Dat jullie zo'n kindergarten met elkaar opbouwen is zo speciaal. Lieverd wij zijn net terug van Tenerife waar we heerlijk gegolfd hebben. Prachtig weer gehad. Ik ben benieuwd naar je volgende project. Slaapt dat trouwens lekker in zo'n hangmat? Jullie zijn wel een fanatiek team delta nine, zie dat jullie ook nog gewonnen hebben. Je zit veel in mijn hoofd en ik zie dat je het erg naar je zin hebt, dus ik maak me geen enkele zorgen. Genieten !!!! Allerliefste Beer we zijn super trots op je en houden van je xxx
ps: Bijna jarig...haha

clare w said...

For Nat Toms: Alpha 1
Hello Natalie!! By gad you look busy. See Lucy has been keeping you up to speed on a few things over here. Definitely haven't heard any news article on major fires on Shepherd's Bush Road so you should be ok there. Missing you out and about. 1970s Scifi warehouse party at you know where wasn't the same without you! I LOVE the glasses, I hope you're keeping well and enjoying all the activity. Looks rather different from the desk job - horray!
Love from all the StB girls xx

Rosie said...

For Christi Kelly Belle,
from Rosie

I saw a picture of you digging the hole. And I am extremeley proud of you! Hope you are having a nice time! What were you eating in that picture? Was it crackers, cheese and rice? What sort of games did the children play? One of my friends went to see one direction live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So not fair!
Don't forget to tell the children about one direction!

Lot of Hugs,kisses and love


Leah lord said...

Hatty alpha 1
Hi Hatty...just about sussing how to do this blog thing then go and blog on the wrong group!! We hope you are well and enjoying you experience...we love to see your photos on the blog and look longingly most days waiting for updates about what you are doing. Dad and I are fine ...just missing our chats with you. We went to waggamamas and the cinema last night. Dad has had ago at making that white chocolate and ginger cheese cake that they have on their menu. Will let you know how it tastes. Hope you enjoying your rice and beans? Love you so much and very proud of you mum and dadxxxxxx

John Bryer said...

Hi James Bryer
Dad here! We received your letter - how wonderful to get your news and we're so glad you're happy there! Grandma read it too as you started it saying 'to the Bryer family'!! Loving all the photos of you with your group & working at the kindergarten & fascinating to see how its done. Its great that you got that particular project as you say. Grandma got back from NZ happy though tired. She herself did and saw some amazing stuff. She's fine & settling back in for a couple of weeks before she goes to Israel! James, she sends her love, as of course do Mum, Chloe & Barney. I'm so proud of you & what you're doing out there son, & really chuffed that its all going so well (despite the diving - perhaps over the coming weeks things will change & you may be able to do it??). We enjoy checking the blog every day for any updates! Missing you & praying for you James. All my love

Casey Perry said...

To Isobel Robertson
(Unsure of group, but I'm sure you'll know her!)

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to amazeballs Izziiiiiii,
Happy birthday to you!!
Hip hip hooray hip hip hooray!!!

(Sorry if this is a bit late, I only figured I could do it today, and didn't know group number?!)

Wow, can't believe you've been out there almost a month now!! :o

How is it?! It looks amazing and I am insanely jealous!! Lectures suck so much!!! Especially without your smile to brighten up my day! :(
Speaking of which, I have a massive test tomorrow so I should probably be revising instead of reading all about these cool expeds!

So, on that note, I'll have to love you and leave you..

Enjoy every moment ,
Savour every experience,
Laugh every day
and Live every memory...

And hurry up and come home coz I miss youuuu!

Oh and never forget how BEAUTIFUL you are and how much I love you and just how many cuddles you will be getting when you return to this cold country.

I hope everyone on the camp is awesome and they are all appreciating your immenseness!! :)
And of course you're showing everyone up with your insane pole dancer moves and general hotness! :P


Ruba Samain said...

Jude Sajdi - Alpha 1

Judy!! Looks like you're integrating really well with the local community and getting on with the building fast :) I'm so excited for you and really looking forward to you coming back so we can have chit chats about Raleigh...
There was a party marathon the weekend before Samah's wedding and the wedding itself was lovely. She looked beautiful and happy. Saw your mum and Zein, she looked beautiful was surprised to find out how young she is, lol and she misses you.
P.S. love how you are representing the Middle East :)

Anonymous said...

Robert donat- Alpha 1

Hey you!! Looks like you are having an amazing Time, Hope you are :D still kinda jealous every time I check out the blog :P you will ba happy to learn that your room has been converted into a crafts room for quilting and that our new car eventually arrived and I was allowed to drive it :) and I did not crash it :D so everything is lovely. I checked out the new ski slope with Didi which was quite good, and it was made awesome by the fact that Leonie phoned me and was like-we have a house but we need to sign for it today so you can't see it first!!! So now we have a flat which is very exciting and I can't wait to actually see it :D
Hope your leg isn't holding you back with the activities and I'm looking forward to finding out what your doing next phase, enjoy :)
Love, Saskia

Sue Bryer said...

Hi james writing again as think blogg got lost. !! Hello my darling gorgeous boy !! Really enjoyed looking up your projects and following your progress and looking for you in the pictures. Its a bit like find Wally but this time its James!.I have written to you but think it will take 2 weeks to get to you so watch out !Life here is busy with 4 landlord meetings before May and still teaching 2 times a week.
The weather is better here today but we have been told to expect snow in 2 days time.
Your cd is still selling strong and the feedback is very good.I play it all the time and so never feel far away from you .
Chloe has arrived today for mothers day and she, Sam and Grandma are coming for roast turkey tonight. We will miss you and raise a glass to absent loved ones.Well my darling I am going to ride into town and get my bike fixed and will be thinking of you.Adieus my darling and watch out for the postman.
The mystery of the whereabouts of Red Ted has been solved having searched high and low for days as I see he is on holiday at Bella dogs ..xxxx relief.xx
God Bless Keep safe and miss you.

Chloe Bryer said...

Hey there JAMEZ! (James Bryer)
I've just arrived home for a week (as its reading week) and Mum and Dad told me about this crazy blog thing, so thought i'd post a lil comment and see how you were! All the things you and your group have done sounds amazing, such a life changing experience and looks like you've met some great people! Uni's so busy at the moment and the work is piling up, but it's just so interesting i'm usually there with my head stuck in some book or other! Mum sent me your CD in the post and I have to say i'm very impressed, good work and you sound lovely! Hope your staying safe and keeping well, stay crazy brudda! Lots of love,
Chloe xxx


To James Bryer
Hello darling;, I have just had a turkey meal with Dad, Mum, Barney, Chloe and Sam to celebrate Mothering Sunday. You were with us in spirit through your singing on the cd. It always makes me cry! I am preparing to leave for 12 days in Israel on Tuesday. I am going with a Christian choir singing in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, but I am helping on the bookstall. I had a fantastic time in NZ, jet boating, paragliding, luge, sand-boarding down dunes, catching salmon, driving through the North and South Islands. Lots to share when we see each other again. Glad you are happy and fulfilled. Lots of love and may God bless you, Grandma.

Amy Kendall said...

Hatty Lord, Group 13c

Hey girl! Looks like you're having an amazing time, so so sooo jealous of your adventures! Time has gone so quick, you've done so much... lost track completely.. looking forward to hearing/seeing all about it on return with your photos!! Tan looks pretty good too, haha!
Unis all good but will be weird going home in easter without you! May stay here in Ox. Haha. I got a job at a sausage and mash restaurant YUM!!
Seriously wish I was out there with you, you're doing so many things that I feel like a proud mother for! Keep enjoying every single minute.
Lots of loveeee, Mare xxx