Imo says: “Zulu 2 are a tightly knit group who have formed lasting friendships with the community of Kalampun, a small village in Sabah. As a group, we immersed ourselves in the WASH project and threw ourselves into building the relationship with the community. We knew this was essential to a successful project. We wanted to combine our enthusiasm, with the local knowledge of the villagers to form one progressive unit to enable positive and sustainable change.
Working together for water access
Together with the community we clambered through luscious rainforest, digging and chopping through roots and shrubs in order to replace and install kilometres of pipes. We carried huge water tanks above our heads across steep terrain (proving more difficult than we thought); it was the leadership from Dan and Gareth and the guidance from the village which ensured we did this effectively and safely. Through this collaboration, we built a strong bond. Together we coiled pipe and dug it up, whilst at the same time the villagers’ motivation to complete the job gave us all a huge incentive to persevere.
The trek up to the dam and the sheer lack of water in the river – less than a foot – made it clear to us how precious water was for the community. We think of dams as controlling huge volumes of water, whereas due to the changing climate the dam for Kalampun consists of rocks and cement securing as much rainfall as possible. Our group got on well with the dam repairs we needed to complete, working together and using the knowledge of our engineers Kat, Begsey and Dan. We also benefited from the energy of the villagers – their local knowledge, their skill with parangs for pathway clearing, and their strength when transporting cement and sand.
Working together for WASH sessions
Our two VMs – Phil and Helen – both had teaching backgrounds, and helped us to construct effective lesson plans to help the women and children to spread awareness about sanitation and hygiene and to improve their English. Our sessions not only enabled us to build our relationship with the community and their families as a whole, but helped the people of Kalampun access to new materials and knowledge.
Both the children and women have huge enthusiasm to learn; they were engaged and excited. We bonded with the children through positivity and nursery rhymes; Indy helpfully and amazingly remembered ALL the words. The women really enjoyed our sessions. It was the teamwork of our Host Country Volunteers, Shaun and Dana, as translators which enabled us to build a better understanding of concepts behind hygiene.
Working with the village has been both fun and rewarding. One of the best moments of the whole three weeks was our leaving party; the village came together and presented us with handmade bamboo crowns and hand-woven bags. It was a great way to end our time in Kalampun, and showed how we’d become genuinely close to the village. The friendliness and collaboration of Zulu 2 and the Kalampun community has not only created sustainable change, but also memories that none of us will ever forget.”
Words by Imo
Photos by Saoirse