Friday, December 30, 2011

Batam Build 2011

I have been back from Batam for two weeks! Looking back, it was still a wonderful experience! I was a bit wary and weary of overseas service learning projects, since my previous partner from Laos was not exactly totally upfront with where our money went and the students I went with really proved they needed to change their perspectives. But I guess the theme of this trip is really “Misconceptions” for me personally.

Even though the trip was short, we did more work than my previous team did in two weeks in Laos. Of course productivity should not be mistaken for how meaningful a project is. However, there was really involvement from our partner Habitat for Humanity Singapore in explaining the objectives of the project and the general movement, something which I appreciate a lot.

The second misconception I got cleared up rather quickly was that since I had gone for a project and a recce in Batam before, it should be easy for me. No matter how mentally prepared I tried to be, there was always something new to shock me. For me, I guess the intensity of the work was a surprise. Perhaps the three-day duration was much shorter than my Laos project and there was really no time to slowly induct us to the work. However, the hard work on Day 1 also meant students felt they were really involved, and were so tired out that they had no energy to sneak out at night.

The last misconception I cleared up was about students. I was wondering if some of the students were going to be troublemakers (e.g. slackers) but I was glad to be entirely mistaken in this case! What it teaches me is to not judge people by appearances again!

Enough said. Pictures now!

I didn't take a photo at the start of Day 1 but it was a totally flat and untouched plot! End of Day 1 above.

A deep trench. Almost 1.2m deep and according to my friend who went through NS, it was tough work!

Work could involve backbreaking digging. Even by the girls.

Or mixing cement.

Passing items along by human chain

My favourite - twisting metal rods into rings for the reinforcement bars.

Relatively more lull - several of us to one reinforcement bar. Usually just two to one!

Those without the additional "technology" of a stand built the reinforcement bars on the ground.

Completed bar

Interacting with local children during break times

End of Day 2. Cement poured into the foundation.

Day 3 - laying bricks

Saying bye - photo with home partner and HfH Batam staff

My group and me!

Well taken care of by Harris Resort. Lovely room!

Eating loads of breakfast to build strength

Typical lunch at worksite

Finally enjoying the scenery at Batam

Stormy weather after we stopped building. We were blessed with sunny weather throughout our building period (and cursed with sunburnt weeks after)!

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