Sunday, 3 March 2013

Update from Alpha 3


Jodi, part of our logs team here at fieldbase has just returned from Pinapak where she spent a week working on a gravity water feed with Alpha 3.

Jodi 
As part of the Fieldbase team, I was one of the lucky few that got to deploy with the Alpha groups for Phase 1.  The lucky Alpha (drum roll please)....Alpha 3!  If you recall Alpha 3 is one of our community projects, enhancing a gravity water feed that was previously installed by Raleigh in 2009, in the remote village of Pinapak. 


Alpha 3 getting together for the first time at basecamp
The village Ketua Kampung (the KK or “head man” of the village) has been kind enough to lend us one of his homes for the duration of the phase, equipped with its own longdrop (woo hoo!).  We spent the first few days making the house our home.  Of course the mozzie nets went up right away. With the lino provided by the logs team we defined ourselves a kitchen and living area, found a wood ladder to hang our mess tins up, and scrubbed the windows to allow the sunshine to come in. 
Alpha 3 and Eddie from AFC lounging in our living room
We also found a great place on the river to do laundry and an amazing beach to bathe.  Unfortunately I kept forgetting to take my camera down to the beach, but someone from Alpha 3 will have a photo to share later.  It was probably one of my favourite times of the day, bathing in the river.   So peaceful and refreshing.  There was something really satisfying in washing the dirt and sweat off from a hard day’s work. 

The community
Pinapak has welcomed us with open arms. Our second evening we had Eddy (from our partner AFC), KK and his wife over to dinner. Louis, Josephine and Jeremy were on dinner duty and produced an amazing 3 course meal. We had beef curry and mashed potatoes for our main. The next course included two types of popcorn (salty and sweet-n-salty), and to top it off peaches and pears for dessert.  Hats off to the chefs as KK called the dinner “Delicious!” and it was very delicious. 
Rek, KK and Jeremy
The team has been working hand-in-hand with KK and the local men of the village in laying the pipe and taps.  It has been great as these guys know the area best.  It has been very helpful to have them around, especially when it comes to clearing a path for the pipe. 

The same local men that have been working with the team, love their sport. In the afternoon you will find them on the football pitch either playing football or volleyball and of course we join in!  The game gets pretty competitive, but full of laughs. The last few days I was in Pinapak the rain was so heavy that the pitch was flooded with water. I am sure they will be on the pitch again soon enough. 
The village has a good size school with children from the neighbouring villages in attendance. Every morning we would watch the children come to Pinapak from every direction. Over the bridge, down the hill, all with smiles on their faces waving and saying good morning or selmat pagi (good morning in Malay). We would see those same smiling faces as they left school for the day (around lunch time). The group is really excited to be able to go into the school and teach English toward the end of the phase.

The work
Work started right away. Our partner, AFC, had done their part and had all the supplies ready for us to carry into the village across a long suspension bridge. Supplies included many meters of pipe, bags of gravel, and cement. It was impressive to see the team work together as they carried 25kg and 50kg bags across the bridge.  The bridge is challenging to cross just by yourself; with the added weight of the supplies you can just imagine the sweat! 

With the supplies across the bridge within the first day, you could see that Alpha 3 was already working together as a finely tuned machine.  The next day it was time to lay the pipe! 
Xenia, Alison, Louis, Aaron and Holly unraveling pipe
First step, unravel the pipe.  You would think this is easy, but it requires a team to be able to do it successfully.  The last thing you want in a kink in the pipe. Once the pipe was unraveled we split up into teams of 4 to drag the 100 meter sections of pipe into their final resting place. Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill and into the jungle in 30 degree weather, everyone was sweating up a storm. At one point during the day Louis and Jeremy were pulling the pipe into the jungle, they thought they got caught around a tree or bush, when they went to investigate they found a group of local children pulling on the pipe laughing hysterically. 
The first sign of water! Xenia, Holly, Eddie, Aaron and Clara connecting the next length of pipe
Day 3 we had water at the house and by Day 4 the team had laid the rest of the pipe into the village – water had arrived!  There was a great sense of accomplishment within the team and Eddy from AFC and KK were impressed with the efficiency and motivation from Alpha 3. With the rate that the team is going, the project is expected to be finished within the first two weeks leaving the last week in Pinapak to spend time with the community playing games and teaching English. 

The team
The week spent with the team was full of laughter and good fun.  The team instantly connected and you wouldn't guess that they have really only known each other for a few days.  Work and play, everyone is getting along really well. 

We have the jukebox girls – Holly, Josephine, and Becky.  No matter what time of day, these lovely ladies sing their hearts out which brings a great energy when everyone is out dragging pipe or carrying bags. 

We have our strong men – Jeremy, Louis, Nav, Enrique, and Aaron.  Always up to carry the heavy items and to trek into the jungle.  The men can’t take all the glory as Clara and Jo are quite the strong women as well!  Clara is mean with a pickaxe and Jo can carry bags of gravel up and down hills with no effort. 

And then there is our Superman Rek. With parang in hand there isn't any challenge that Rek can’t take on.  As he says “I may be small, but I am strong.”  He is also an excellent cook and treated us to a dinner with vegetables he found in the jungle.  Yummy! 

Alpha 3 is like the United Nations of Expedition 13C.  Within the group there are 6 languages spoken, English, Dutch, Malay, French, German and Spanish.  Each language is spoken on a daily basis and occasionally an impromptu language course.  While I was there we had French and Malay lessons and I also picked up a few new Dutch words.
    
It was sad to leave as I had a great time with Alpha 3, but duty calls at Fieldbase.  I am looking forward to seeing the team again at changeover.  I can’t wait to hear about the opening ceremony and the stories they have to share. 



Jeremy, Jo and Clara relaxing after a hard days work


11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Naveed,
Hi! How are you getting on? How was ur week? We had been waiting for a whole week for an update on Alpha 3 and we were looking forward to seeing more photos as u were working but there was one photo only of all of you in the room but perhaps other people in your group may have some photos. I hope you have been taking some photos. We have been missing you a lot and even AK misses you. Everyone asks how you are getting on even my work colleagues ask about you. We are very proud of you. I hope you are working hard and having a laugh as well and with it making good friends as well.
How was your birthday by the way? Did u do anything or not? We really missed you on the day. We shall celebrate when you are back. Last night AK went for the ismaili student network ball. I shall let you know if he enjoyed in my next update. Love you and tc and remember to have the malaria tablets as well as multivitamins ok? Say hello to all your group from all of us and even dad keeps going on the website to check for updates. Tc
Lots of love from dad, mum and AK

Callum Robinson said...

To Isobel Robertson (Delta 1) From Callum Robinson

Heyy Izzie, I'm not really sure if I am doing this right or not or if you will be able to reply but anywho I'll give it ago and maybe for once we can have a role reversal and I can chat and you can just sit and listen haha. Well I bet you’re having the time of your life just had a look at some of the photos on the site and it looks soo amazing, but you really deserve it after all that time at the beacon. I’m sure everyone absolutely loves you and you've made so many new friends. I still can’t believe it at times your soo faraway having this amazing experience, and Im here doing differential equations ha. In fairness while you’ve been away things have occurred with me, at the moment I am heading to Siberia next year and applying for jobs in America over summer which is all rather frightening, however I am doing an interview next week for a placement in Brussels which is my dream placement so I’m really hoping that goes well, cause id definitely chose that over Siberia. Just actually wanted to thank you, you’ve been kind of an inspiration to me this year, I’ve looked at you going out and making things happen for yourself so I’ve taken a leaf out of your book and am starting to really make use of opportunities I have. I also want to wish you a very happy birthday for Monday, will be strange not seeing you but I'm sure you'll have a great day. When you get home if you fancy it, it would be nice to see you again, maybe share a bag of midget gems over a catch up. Definitely weird not hearing anything from you, my phone has never been so quiet ha, Well Izzie i wish you all the best for the rest of your trip and hope you stay safe, and will be thinking about you.
Callum xx

Callum Robinson said...

To Isobel Robertson (Delta 1) From Callum Robinson

Heyy Izzie, I'm not really sure if I am doing this right or not or if you will be able to reply but anywho I'll give it ago and maybe for once we can have a role reversal and I can chat and you can just sit and listen haha. Well I bet you’re having the time of your life just had a look at some of the photos on the site and it looks soo amazing, but you really deserve it after all that time at the beacon. I’m sure everyone absolutely loves you and you've made so many new friends. I still can’t believe it at times your soo faraway having this amazing experience, and Im here doing differential equations ha. In fairness while you’ve been away things have occurred with me, at the moment I am heading to Siberia next year and applying for jobs in America over summer which is all rather frightening, however I am doing an interview next week for a placement in Brussels which is my dream placement so I’m really hoping that goes well, cause id definitely chose that over Siberia. Just actually wanted to thank you, you’ve been kind of an inspiration to me this year, I’ve looked at you going out and making things happen for yourself so I’ve taken a leaf out of your book and am starting to really make use of opportunities I have. I also want to wish you a very happy birthday for Monday, will be strange not seeing you but I'm sure you'll have a great day. When you get home if you fancy it, it would be nice to see you again, maybe share a bag of midget gems over a catch up. Definitely weird not hearing anything from you, my phone has never been so quiet ha, Well Izzie i wish you all the best for the rest of your trip and hope you stay safe, and will be thinking about you.
Callum xx

Callum Robinson said...

To Isobel Robertson (Delta 1) From Callum Robinson

Heyy Izzie, I'm not really sure if I am doing this right or not or if you will be able to reply but anywho I'll give it ago and maybe for once we can have a role reversal and I can chat and you can just sit and listen haha. Well I bet you’re having the time of your life just had a look at some of the photos on the site and it looks soo amazing, but you really deserve it after all that time at the beacon. I’m sure everyone absolutely loves you and you've made so many new friends. I still can’t believe it at times your soo faraway having this amazing experience, and Im here doing differential equations ha. In fairness while you’ve been away things have occurred with me, at the moment I am heading to Siberia next year and applying for jobs in America over summer which is all rather frightening, however I am doing an interview next week for a placement in Brussels which is my dream placement so I’m really hoping that goes well, cause id definitely chose that over Siberia. Just actually wanted to thank you, you’ve been kind of an inspiration to me this year, I’ve looked at you going out and making things happen for yourself so I’ve taken a leaf out of your book and am starting to really make use of opportunities I have. I also want to wish you a very happy birthday for Monday, will be strange not seeing you but I'm sure you'll have a great day. When you get home if you fancy it, it would be nice to see you again, maybe share a bag of midget gems over a catch up. Definitely weird not hearing anything from you, my phone has never been so quiet ha, Well Izzie i wish you all the best for the rest of your trip and hope you stay safe, and will be thinking about you.
Callum xx

Anonymous said...

Louis Coster alpha 3

Hey Loetje,

Hoe is het daar? Heb gehoord dat het weer daar heel nat is.

We zitten nu in Arosa, en mama is je vriend van Byron Bay tegen gekomen in de apotheek. Ik zit hier nu bij de pingpongtafel, omdat die schoonmaaksters nog bezig zijn in onze kamer. Papa en mama zijn nog aan het ontbijt, en fleur lag nog te tukken. Dus je kan wel opmerken dat er hier niet veel is veranderd.

Het is wel op een of andere manier heel anders zonder jou, papa en mama komen opeens vaker naar mijn hockey kijken, er zijn nooit meer feestjes bij ons thuis, al het bier is weg:). Maar verder is het hier heel normaal, en we missen je natuurlijk allemaal ontzettend, maar we weten dat je daar goed zit en hopen dat je deze belevenis nooit zult vergeten, want dit maak je maar misschien één keer in heel je leven mee, dus geniet ervan zolang het nog kan.

Hoop dat als je uit de jungle bent, dat je veel leuke foto's op facebook of in "de coster chat" zet.

Geniet hiervan en heel veel plezier. We houden van je!

Groetjes je broertje,
David

Jonothan Carver said...

Message for Holly Carver, Alpha 3

Yo Holly!
'Just read the blog post on your pipe laying activity, there is a picture of you tangling the pipe up! Also a pic of you all in your pad - omg! It says that you have been singing a lot - your poor team! - lol!
I really hope that you are having a great time and you still have a gsoh!
We are all missing you (especially at 3.30 in the morning when you normally get in!-lol again)
love Dad

Anonymous said...

For Beth Batty Alpha 8
Hey Beth, how are you? thinking about you, it all looks pretty amazing! Hoping you are not getting too bitten and still enjoying yourself. Callum is ok, I have a letter here from him to post for you tomorrow, was nice to receive a letter for me, one for Jems and one for Norah from him too! nice surprise. We can't wait to see him in one month, will let you know how he is getting on. He is bored a lot but the jobs have been a bit more frequent lately so time is passing a bit faster it seems. Bet you have an amazing tan? Looking forward to keeping up with the blog and seeing more photos of you, take care, lots of love from Bev xx

Gillian Somerville said...

Message for Isobel Robertson, alpha 6

Hey Izzie,

It's your birthday and I miss you loads hope all is well and you are having a fantastic time:)

Just a short message as I'm in uni today will send a longer one tonight!!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday dear Izzie,
Happy birthday to you:)

Speak later, lots of love Gillian xxxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

message for sam griffin beat

Hello big boy,

how are you, still no news of alpha 5, and no contact from you, when you are back in base camp please give me a call. no rugby this weekend, we play the italians next week. not much to report, emma had to work all weekend and she is doing 6 till sometimes 10 at night, the commercial is for a big client (coka cola) so they are all on bikini alert!!! just got back from the beach walking bubs, its very hot today high 30s and quite humid. filip is slaving away in the garden ( as only filip can, at filip pace!!) a snail moves faster!!!! but we love him.

sugar and i are going to the uk on 21st march and get back on 7th april. so if you have the chance to call during that period, i will have my cell on at all times. Have you had any nasty bites or sickness? i hope not. well hoping for a photo and a call or text in the very near future, all my love my boy mum xxxxxxxx

Anonymous said...

Voor Caspar, Alpha 6

Lieve Caspar,
We kijken er naar uit om een bericht van je te ontvangen. We lezen over tropische regenbuien en over schermutselingen tussen Filippijnen en politie op Borneo. In vergelijking met daar is het hier rustig en bedaard. Donderdag is papa jarig. Het zal vreemd zijn dat je er dan niet bent. Dan moeten we het doen zonder jouw cupcakes of andere lekkernijen. Opa is weer terug uit Nieuw Guinea. Hij heeft het daar reuze naar zijn zin gehad. Binnenkort gaan we de foto's bekijken die hij en René daar hebben gemaakt. Maak jij ook foto's? Lieve Cas, houd je haaks en we zijn erg benieuwd naar jouw verhalen en belevenissen bij Alpha 6.

Liefs, papa en mama

Rhea B said...

This is a message for holly carver.
Hey hols! Looks like your having a good time.
Me and all the girls are proper missing you Mann.
Love the fact your singing I bet you sound amazing.
Hope your having an amazing time
Can't wait for you to get back and see you.
Loves yoouu x