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Habitat For Humanity Batam Build 25th August 2007

August 26th, 2007 by Wai Loong (Add Your Comment)

Habitat For Humanity - 01

Batam Build 25th August 2007
By Ng Wai Loong
Guess what?

I’m back from Batam!

Holiday or tour?


Hey, and don’t make wide guesses… I know what you’re thinking.

Actually, it’s for a good purpose… really!

I’ve been living on this little planet for some time and I guess it’s time for me to stretch out a helping hand for others.

Ever wonder how your own home was built? I know, many Singaporeans don’t care a hoot how this is done. After all, you just need to put down a hefty down payment (and still counting these days…) and HDB hands you over?

Well, I don’t own a house now, and I still stay with my parents.

However, I was never able to understand how grateful one can be until I embark on a journey, how fortunate we Singaporeans can be when it comes to accommodation.

We live in a part of the world where we’re very much sheltered from natural disasters and war zones. In a way, I’m pretty comfortable and many times, I’ve have taken the basics of life for granted.

Habitat is a non-profit Christan organization that comes in perfectly to provide an opportunity to reach out to help unlawful dwellings (immigrants who fled from their hometowns) to regain dignity for humanity.

Here are some snapshots from the presentation slides I’ve gotten from the organizers:

Habitat For Humanity - 02

Habitat For Humanity - 03

Habitat For Humanity - 04

Habitat For Humanity - 05

Habitat For Humanity - 06

Habitat For Humanity - 07

Habitat For Humanity - 07

Habitat For Humanity - 08

Habitat For Humanity - 09

Okay, let’s get back to reality…

Are the slides very impressive?

Definitely! I was already mentally prepared for the situation. It turned out that the situations was not too bad after all. 😉

Though the actual environment did not look as impressive as those you see on the slides above, it was a bit close to that. There were less people around, just the house leader, the family and 9 of us.

We set off from HarbourFront Center at 0900hrs and reach Batam Indonesia at 0900hrs (Batam time is 1 hour behind Singapore time). A friendly member from the organizing committee and a guided driver brought us to the site after about 15 minutes from the ferry terminal.

The house leader introduced himself as Junianto (AAN) and Mr. Hendrizon (and family) to us. I didn’t really figure out exactly how to pronounce their names properly.

Here’s the program schedule:

0900 hrs – Briefing on the site
0915-1200hrs – Building activities:
Digging for Septitank
Bending wire for beam and column work
Delivery material & mixing of cement

1200-1300hrs – Break for lunch
1300-1500hrs – Work continues…
1500-1530hrs – Work end, cleaning up and closing ceremony.

Here is a snapshot of what it looks like

Batam Build - 01

Batam Build - 02

Batam Build - 03

The plot of land surrounded by the Habitat banners is where the house will be build upon and where the family will have shelter over. Noticed the small hole in front (where the shovers are laid out)? That’s the Septitank we were trying hard to dig under the scorching afternoon sun!

Batam Build - 04

This is a snapshot of the completed houses (their neighbors). Can you guess how much it’s worth? For your information, the building in the center has a complete and functional toilet/washroom/bathroom (whatever you call that in your country)…

Batam Build - 05

This is a snapshot of the trail where we came in from. That’s the power distribution grid.

Batam Build - 06

Batam Build - 07

Batam Build - 08

We break for lunch under a neat tent near the worksite – something rare in contrast to its surroundings.

Our team leader (and one of my colleague), Venkat, blistered his thumb while working very hard digging the Septitank. Hui Fang seems to enjoy fixing that. 😉

Batam Build - 09

I tried to take a picture of Mui Huang (another of my colleague) but I guess she’s too shy and she wants to hide a bit. On the left is Candice, one of Mui Huang’s close friend.

Batam Build - 10

See the unfinished beam on the ground? Yes, it’s made from raw steel wires. Our team has to rotate around to assemble the brackets (also made using a special tool from the same steel wires) on 4 poles of steel bars. Each bracket has to be positioned approximately 30cm (11.81″) apart.

Fine aluminium wires are used to bind (twisted aroubd) the brackets to 4 steel bars.

Batam Build - 11

Batam Build - 12

Batam Build - 13

We caught sight of some black, lean and slim kampong chickens running around the build site. These creatures look amazingly healthy (and hence tasty) to us urban folks. 😉

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More snapshots of the unfinished houses and a rooster. Funny thing about these rooster – why do they still crow in the middle of a hot afternoon? It’s kinda disturbing…

Aren’t they suppose to crow only in the hours of dawn?

Batam Build - 16

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More pictures of the grounds where the new home will be built on. A word of wisdom – the next time you go digging your tranch, foxhole or shit hole, be sure to wear your boots. It’s a lot easier to clean up when you get back home. 😉

Batam Build - 19

That’s the house leader AAN, standing next to the tent where we take cover from the afternoon sun during our breaks.

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Batam Build - 21

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Batam Build - 23

Here are some more snapshots…

The black roosters and hens seem to enjoy our company. 😉

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Batam Build - 25

Noticed how the beams are applied to lay the foundation for the building? Wooden planks are to be assembled before mixed cement can be applied.

Batam Build - 26

And as usual, urban folks always leave a trail of rubbish for the environment.

I’m particularly grateful to the pair of gloves that protected my hands from sharp steel wires and tools used in this exercise.

And finally…

The work had to end somehow otherwise we would have missed the return ferry. To our surprise, there were certificates of appreciation for us all!

Though the ceremony was very simple, I was very touch by its significance. I guess anyone be in a position of any volunteering activity, who are directly in the action of making a difference to the lives of others, will feel the same way too!

Oh well… nothing is perfect as I couldn’t get my camera ready and steady for everyone on the team. This is the best I’ve gotten for this little ceremony:

Batam Build - 27

Batam Build - 28

Mui Huang receiving her certificate of appreciation.

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Shi Ting receiving her certificate of appreciation.

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Jimmy receiving his certificate of appreciation.

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Chandra receiving his certificate of appreciation.

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Jocelyn receiving her certificate of appreciation.

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Our team leader, Venkat, receiving his certificate of appreciation.

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Batam Build - 35

And finally, I took a few grateful shots of the mini bus provided by Harris Resort and Habitat Indonesia.

Meanwhile, I will be sourcing for more interesting pictures or video clips from our team members. Do check back again for more updates!

The full sized photographs are available on Google Picasa (for a limited time):

Updated on 26th October 2007!

Yesterday, I’ve received an update from Venkat, our team leader on the progress of the family we’ve assisted! Below are 2 pictures forward from Habitat.

Wow! I can hardly recognize where the shit hole we’ve dug! 😉

Batam Build - 100

Batam Build - 101

Hmm… I wonder which Batam build team helped out in fitting the windows!

I like the design very much!

The 2nd photograph shows a little hut next to the building. I wonder if it’s for the kampong chickens!

Until then…

Enjoy, and have a great day ahead! 😉

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About Insights, Inspirations, Tranquility, Peace and Harmony

Ng Wai Loong

Wai Loong is an electronics engineer by profession. He currently resides in Singapore, a thriving hub at the heart of South-East Asia. When he is not so stress out on the computers or laboratory, he enjoys value reading, jogging at his own pace and blogging in his spare time. Other times, he likes to catch up with some close friends over a cup of latte or teh tarik. As a gift from this friend, you are invited to interact freely with him on his personal blog.

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