What can you do in 4 years; finish a degree or perhaps send your kid to school? Dissolva and Arkitrek go back 4 years and Dissolva and the community in Kampung Buayan go back 5 years! Dr. Shinobu from Gakushuin University Tokyo, the coordinator of the Dissolva programme, knows this remote corner of Borneo like her own village. Her goal is to support Kampung Buayan in maintaining their Bio-cultural heritage is unending.
This year the Japanese Dissolva students worked at the Bio-cultural Heritage Centre. They dug a leach field, renovated the office, finished the library and made a plant nursery. Aside from that, the students also learned about collecting vegetables, fishing, preparing the chicken and cooking.
The leach field idea was first proposed in 2013 by the Arkitrek Design-Build group from Edinburgh. Finally, the time and budget was right to build a small drain field to serve the one toilet. We had 3 trenches at about 2.5m long for each. On top of it we had vegetable beds where villagers will plant chillis, spring onions and ‘sayur manis’ aka local sweet green vegetables.
The renovated office provided an enclosed room so the villagers could stop being worried on keeping important documents, especially ones that they did during the Ulu-Papar Bio-Cultural research with the Global Diversity Foundation. Thus, all those documents were at last brought out of storage in one of the villager’s house and secured in the Heritage Centre.
The Bio-Cultural Heritage Centre certainly has a special place in our heart and no doubt to many Arkitrekkers. This year Arkitrek brokered a new connection: for a plant nursery project, we were excited to introduce KOPEL, (Koperasi Pelancongan Batu Puteh), a community ecotourism co-orperative based in Batu Puteh, Sandakan. Their knowledge for community ecotourism and expertise in forest restoration is helpful for the community in Buayan.
By establishing the contact with KOPEL, the community in Buayan could take initiative to learn more from them about eco-tourism and protecting their forest, and they now have a fully functioning Heritage Centre from which to benefit.