Based on an original blog by Tan Zhen Ron here
All photos by Tan Zhen Ron
Arkitrekkers, Nick Nearchou and Zhen Ron with two other volunteers from the United Kingdom, Holly and Annabel spent a lovely time contributing to the Community of Kampung Bongkud (Village Bongkud). It is considered exciting for me, Zhen Ron as this is my very first trip working (and of course enjoying) with Arkitrek outside the office.
Photograph above shows the main common area at Camp Bongkud where meals are served and most activities being held.
Being with the Community
With the arrangement made by the camp manager Eve; Nick, Zhen Ron, Holly and Annabel were lucky enough to be presented some village dances by the local kids. They were then being invited to join the dance. They danced so clumsily, well, despite of that it is considered a good “side-read”.
On early morning the next day, we witnessed the prize giving ceremony for the local kids at the Fajar Ceria Play School. The village chief, Bindang was invited to deliver a speech to the audience that morning. In his speech, he expressed his appreciation to Camp Borneo and all the volunteers who willingly work and contribute to the local community.
On the Building Projects
Arkitrek is helping Camps International to build a Community Hall and a Gravity Feed Water Tank at the Camp Bongkud. It will be easier for you to understand the project with the attachment of a plan of the community hall.
The layout plan above depicts the simple arrangement of space in the community hall. Eve said that there is a need for a guest house so that people from the government department of any government official can stay overnight there if necessary.
Currently, we are at the concreting stage for the ground floor slab at the kitchen and pantry areas. Concreting seems easy, yet, until you tuck on your boots and start mixing with shovel you will realise how labourous the work is. Also, there is a lot of precautionary steps to be aware of and to get the right chemistry mixture reminds us of the boring (or maybe interesting) chemistry classes back in school. The photographs also show a number of steel plates embedded partially into the ground beam to take the galvanised iron frame later.
This is the food bit
On one occasion, Zhen Ron and Eve went to nearby hawker stalls to get some fresh fish and vegetables to cook. The hawker stalls are about 10 minutes drive from Camp Bongkud site. There are a lot of BBQ chicken skewers for sale, they looked so tempting and irresistible. I bought some snacks and also managed to get some photographs of what is sold there. Nick and Holly loved the Chicken Skewers and BBQ Chicken Wings so much. They craved for more
During the stay in Camp Bongkud it rained often and on one day, work at site was not able to begin at all. Yet, we managed to keep ourselves busy with some interesting chatting sessions and some card games. I introduced some card games which are quite popular amongst the local Malaysians. Topics of conversation included cultural differences, study and life experience in the UK and Malaysia.
On one occasion, Holly was drying her clothes on the drying lines. All of a sudden she was shouting out loud: “A giant spider!” It was at a quiet corner and it seems invincible. It is a very colourful one. It would probably glow in the dark.
Yeah, one more thing to mention – Shaznini! Oh, look at the name Shaznini, what can you think of? A lady? A place? … … No, it is a kitten. An evil one. Shaznini was born at Camp Bongkud. She has been wandering around the camp all this while. Need not to mention, of course the source of food is the leftover one coming from the gappers or the students. She is evil because she will jump onto the table and grab your food! She is a bad kitten. Nick was pissed off with Shaznini once she tried to grab Nick’s food from the plate. On the other hand, she will entertain the gappers whenever she can but ONLY after she has eaten. Her entertainment during the stays for the gappers made her eligible to be included into several posters created by different groups of gappers who volunteered at Camp Bongkud. Here is Shaznini: Look at her evil face… She is Hunting for food without mercy