Bulud Batu was chosen for a gravity water feed by one of Raleigh’s partner organisations – PACOS who are a community based organisation dedicated to supporting and empowering indigenous communities in Sabah. Aunty Rodiah, the head woman, is an amazing woman. Not only is it unusual that Bulud Batu have a head woman, but she is even more unusual as she was elected. However, on meeting her this is less surprising as her passion and warmth is infectious.
As well as being in charge at Bulud Batu she is also responsible for four other villages in the area and was very excited to hear that it was her village that was to be the first of these to work with Raleigh to get a water system in place.
She currently has no running water supply to her house or most of the other houses in the sprawling village, the only house that does have a supply of water is the house where alpha 2 are staying and the family make a daily trip of 20 minutes each way to fill up their jerry cans with the water for all their daily needs. In the dry season looking after the farm of rubber and palm oil as well as all the animals becomes increasingly difficult. The Raleigh gravity water feed will meet this basic human need and improve their quality of life dramatically; from hygiene and sanitation; to helping with farming; to making social life in the village that much easier. Family and food is so important to the community at Bulud Batu and running water will make family reunions and parties so much easier to cater for, Auntie hopes that relatives will visit more often once they have running water.
Living as part of this community has really opened the eyes of the Alpha 2 Venturers. They have seen and experienced firsthand how it is to live without water at the turn of tap and are really appreciating the comforts of home. They understand the necessity of their project and how happy it is making the villagers. Communities here in Sabah don’t have the expertise or the money to build these systems for themselves but the project is so much more than laying pipes. The group has really integrated into village life and have been attending a local church and teaching English – Auny’s English is coming along in leaps and bounds and she is the most enthusiastic student in the class. Showing pictures of family from home and explaining their daily lives helps the village understand that life at home for the Venturers is like– very different from what they have seen on TV!
Strong relationships have been built during the installation of the water feed. At the beginning the villagers were a little baffled by the international group living in their village with their 3 bowls and Raleigh rations and rules which they found hard to understand, but they have learnt to live together and dinners are now a truly international affair with such delights as frankfurters, wild boar and chicken nuggets on the menu!
|Villagers welcoming the PM's Lou, Jonny and Connor to Bulud Batu|
|Villagers and venturers working together to lay pipe|
|Alpha 2 phase 1 with the villagers of Bulud Batu|
|Alpha 2 phase 2 having breakfast at Aunty Rohida's on their last day|