Sunday, April 28, 2013

Trip to Tawau

Hello Again Everyone -- We are still in beautiful Borneo.  It is election time in Borneo but one nice thing about their election is that the campaign season only lasts two weeks instead of the four years in the US.  There are election flags and signs everywhere.  There are many different parties running and each party is accusing the other parties of shenannigans and dirty politics.  Sounds familiar, right?  I guess some things are the same the world over.  Politicians will always be politicians and you have a hard time believing any of them.  The election day will be next Sunday, May 5.

This week we went to Tawau to check on three projects we have there.  When we first got here a year ago we went to Tawau for the "Hand Over" ceremony for the water project we did in the little village of Quoin Hill just outside of Tawau.  It was time to go back a year later and see how the project was doing.  We were met by this cute granma and her two little granddaughters:
The little girl on the right was terrified of me.  You can tell by looking at her face that she is very uncomfortable and scared.  The littlest girl would barely shake my hand but the older one just shook all over with fright.  There is definitely a fear factor regarding "orang putih" or white people.
Here we are in front of the reservoir that holds the water they get from a natural, clean, drinkable spring.  They are having a few problems with the tanks -- they are not filling up the way they should and the pump is not pumping correctly.  We hope to take care of this problem so they will have adequate water in the future.
We were invited by the Tawau Rotary Club to come to their weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday.  They are a great bunch of Rotarians.  After the luncheon we went to visit the free vision clinic run by the Rotary Club and the equipment was donated by LDS Charities.
The Free Clinic is on the second floor of a shop lot and is only open on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month from 8:00 am to noon.  It is hard to get Rotarians who know about eyes in Tawau to donate their time.  In fact, the current Rotary President is the local eye surgeon and he is trying to run the clinic as well as his private practice.  They have seen quite a few patients though and are helping those who are referred to the clinic who can't afford examinations or glasses any other way.
Ben getting his eyes tested by Dr. Ajit.  He never did tell us anything about Ben's eyes, so we're not even sure Ben has eyes or can see.
This is the waiting room of the clinic.  They have this waiting room and two eye exam rooms.  Last time we were here nothing was set up yet and they weren't seeing patients, so progress has been made here.

The next day, Wednesday, we were off to visit the Red Crescent/Red Cross.  LDS Charities supplies them with wheel chairs for the poor and needy in the Tawau area.  They received 50 wheelchairs about six weeks ago and now they only have 18 left.  There are more on order and on their way.  The Red Crescent Society gives out the wheel chairs to the poor and needy regardless of nationality or religion.  They just have to be poor and needy.  The Red Crescent Society says they have been visiting many of the outlying jungle villages and giving out wheelchairs there to people who cannot make the trip into Tawau to get one.  That is Bagus (great).
 Here we are along with Elder Atkinson and the leaders of the local Red Crescent Society.
Some of the wheel chairs and crutches LDS Charities has supplied them with.  Did you know wheel chairs come in sizes and types.  Sizes go from a small 12" up to a 20".  Each recipient of a wheel chair has to be carefully measured to ensure that they get the right size of wheel chair.  If you were to give a patient the wrong size wheel chair it could cause pressure sores and because Malaysia is so humid the pressure sores could get easily infected and cause death.  There are two types of wheel chairs, the regular wheel chair and a rough rider wheel chair designed for users who don't have smooth areas to ride on.  We have just barely completed an order for East Malaysia for almost another 600 wheel chairs.  The training and distribution of these chairs will be made in September, after we have left.  We won't be here to go through the three day training that is required.

This is Marcus Huet and his wife Sharon.  He is a Rotarian and she is an English teacher and quite a little fireball, so much fun.  They met on-line and have been married for about 9 years.  He was born and raised in Michigan and works for Tetra-Pak.  We met him at the Rotarian luncheon and then they invited us and the Atkinson's to meet them for dinner.  After dinner they invited us back to their home.  What a beautiful home they have.  It is in a quiet, unassuming neighborhood and you would never know their beautiful home was there.  They have completely remodeled their home and it is gorgeous.
 This is their living room and library area.
 This is the guppy pool in the pool area.
 Sharon and Marcus with their dog Beatrice.  Beatrice was a stray and is now one lucky dog.
This is their pool, a resistance swimming pool.  It was just a wonderful home.

The first night, Monday, the Atkinson's took us to visit a family.  The oldest daughter was having a birthday that day and she was turning 14.  We drove down this old rutty bumpy dirt road going deeper into the jungle.  When we ran out of road, by a cemetery no less, we had to get out and walk through the jungle with our torches (flashlights).  It was spooky.  Soon we saw a light coming the other way to meet us and help us make it the rest of the way to the Williams' house.  Their home was just a poor little two room hut, built up on sticks.  But it was clean and the Atkinson's told us that this was the first time they had visited that they had chairs to sit on.  The Tawau branch recently got new furniture so they gave some of the old chairs to families who could use them.
This is Julianne with her birthday cake which the Atkinson's brought to her. Atkinson's also brought some ice cream which we had to hurry and eat before it melted in the hot jungle.  Isn't she a doll.  She has some kind of a rare medical problem where sometimes in the morning she will wake up and be unable to move at all.  Then she has to go to the hospital and get treated.  It is very scary.  Because of this medical condition she can't go to school. Pray for Julianne.
This is the entire Williams family.  Katrina and her brother (sorry can't remember his name) in front.  Augus, Bro. Williams, Julianne and Sis. Christine Williams.  They are truly people who live off the land.  They grow and gather from the jungle all the food they eat.  I will never complain about going to a grocery store again.  We are so blessed.

We had a great visit to Tawau and enjoyed the scenery and the all the people we met.  Marcus and his wife Sharon said they would try to visit us in Utah when they come through.  They come home once a year in May to visit his family and his 90 year old mother in Michigan.  I hope they do come.  We have met so many wonderful people here.  We love them all.  That's all for now folks.  PLEASE send us an email and let us know how you all are doing.  We love and miss everyone so much.  E/S Read

1 comment:

  1. We loved reading about your travels to Tawau. I was so glad I knew how to pronounce it. Praying for you everyday,
    The Fields