Sunday, October 21, 2012

Jungling in Borneo

We made it back once again from the jungles of Borneo.  We visited about 8 villages and checked out their need for water.  Almost all of the villages needed new water pipes.  The pipes the government gave them have cracked and broken and the villagers are constantly trying to repair the pipes to keep the water flowing to the villages.
First of all we need to get the GPS coordinates so in the future our replacements and others who come to visit will be able to find the right pipes and the right dam for the right village.  LtoR:  Patrick Panai, Rotarian and project coordinator, Ben, and Elder Frandsen who is the short term water specialist from SLC.
Ben and Elder Frandsen walking through the jungle.  The foilage was so very thick it was very difficult to walk in some places.  We had a man who walked in front of us with about an 2' large knife to hack away at the jungle so we could get through. Your feet kept getting wrapped up in vines and the undergrowth.  Fortunately, we didn't see or walk into any snakes.
This is a picture of the stream where the dam is built to collect the water which is then piped down to the storage tanks to store the water for the villagers to use.  It is a beautiful area.  The dam is high up the side of the mountain/hill so the water can get a lot of speed up as it races through the pipes to the storage tanks below.
On the way back down the mountain we ran into a herd of water buffalo who were just getting out of their beauty mud bath.  Now you know why water buffalo are so extraordinarily beautiful.  Mud baths.
All the children who live in the villages  from age 5 through about 12-13 go to a village school (the building in the background).  All the children also board there.  This school isn't that very far from the village we stayed in, about a 10-15 minute drive but the kids board there all week anyway.  They are taken to the school on Sunday evening and picked up on Friday morning. These kids were so cute.  They have been studying English and would say "Good morning.  My name is . . . and I am . . . years old."  They really had good English for as young as they were.

We had some pretty interesting meals while we were out jungling.
I particularly wanted everyone to notice the brownish/blackish stick like item in the upper left.  That was our lunch one day.  It is wild fox bat.  I took the smallest piece I could find and then carefully chose a small bit of meat off of it just so I can now say I have eaten bat.  Of course every meal, morning, noon and night has rice as the main course.  This trip I also ate black small snails and wild boar.  Actually, I just pretended to eat the snails.  But the boar wasn't too bad.  We also had a lot of different fruit:  passion fruit which I thoroughly loved, something called a bui which was very tasty and of course wonderful pineapple, mango, star fruit and papaya.  The fruit here is really amazing.
In each village we stayed, at mealtime five or six ladies from the village would show up with pots and pans and bowls full of food.  The women would all want to bring some food for us.  It was like having the relief society come calling.  All these ladies showed up one morning to bring us our breakfast.  So much food!

Of course one thing you must never ever forget to do when coming our of the jungle is to check for leeches.
YUCKY.  They are so disgusting.  Here is Ben and his leech Larry:
I had a couple on me too.  One leech must have hit a vein or something because I was still bleeding 24 hours later.  One of the side benefits of being an humanitarian missionary, free leech service.

Well, we are leaving in the morning for the palm oil plantation schools to check out their sanitation needs.  We are going to visit about 10 schools far away from the main roads in an area called Lahad Datu.  I'm not sure what to expect on this trip, but I will be sure and report next week.

We love you all.  PLEASE email and let us know what is going on in your lives.  E/S Read

1 comment:

  1. Wow, eating bat sounds great. I'm still planning on a visit around President's Day weekend, but I'm waiting to see if air fare will go down. I'll book my ticket soon and let you know. Have a good week!