philsquest

the adventure I find myself in / das Abenteuer in dem ich mich finde

Category: Development work (page 1 of 2)

The girl in the village

Girl in village
This month I spent alot of time in different villages. Again I became aware how vunerable hilltribe children are. There is neglect and abuse and an uncertain future for many. Specially when the children grow up in a family dominated by drugs. I heard to many sad stories. When I go up to Hui Kau Laam to visit our center I step into another world. I sometimes doubt the impact we have in those villages, but am reminded that not success in what we do but in faithfullness to what is intrusted to us counts before God. So often My co-workers and I stand in shock as children are left behind by their parents because they  don't care what happens to their child; teenage girls get pregnant, married and then left within a year; fathers get picked up by police to spent years in prison for selling drugs; children who don't go to school, because the parents are not interessted what one day will happen to them. Over the years as I see those children grow up and hope that they will have a future different from their parents. A hope for change.

 

Heavy rain in the mountains

Three days ago I made my way up to the mountains to get some more work done on our center. We prepared the frame the other week to get the cement poured for the foundation. Unfortunately when I drove towards the village I was met with a lot of water. passing the last Thai village I saw many people standing on the bridge discussing about the rising waters. The water level was just under the bridge. More then a meter higher then usual. I am passing the village and going off-road towards Hui Kau Laam. As I come to the log bridge going to Catusi. The bridge is totally submerged under water. I usually don't use the bridge, but just pass through the river, which would be impossible now.

I drive on for a couple of hundred meters and meet a truck that slid into a ditch blocking the way to the village. His axel was sitting on the dirt and it was impossible even with 4×4 to et out. The owner came running with a smile and was happy to see me. I seem to e known for being the guy who pulls others out of the dirt with ease. I mean who else got a winch on their truck around here. 

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I drove another couple of hundred meters and meet two electricity poles blocking the road. The heavy rains and the flooding just swept them away with the foundations. There was no way of getting around them, so I needed to drive back a kilometer and make a detour through the jungle over the hill and take a back road into the village. 

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So much to get things done easily here. We had to call off the cement trucks that were supposed to come in to pour the foundations. This part of the project has to wait another one to two weeks. There is no way those trucks can come in when the road is half gone and extremely slippery.

Still I was able to do many other things. I never run out of work up here. 🙂

Going for the bamboo

Last we went for a days into the forest to get Bambooo for the center. Catri, Mida und a view others came along on a long off-road trip.

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Here are more pictures of how a bamboo pole becomes a piece of wall

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House in Hui Kau Laam

Pa270021We are making progress with our building in Hui Kau Laam. Negotiating with the workers about the prize and discussing how to build the house wasn’t so easy, but we worked it out in the end. We are excited about the development in Hui Kau Laam.

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Up to Hui Kau Laam

Early tomorrow morning I will be off to Hui Kau Laam and from there off road up into the jungle. Villagers from Baan Pong have cut bamboo for the new house we are building in Hui Kau Laam. It is raining quite a bit so it will be an adventure to drive the dirt road into the back valley. All those who have been with me on the road know what I mean. It will be a long day.
Meanwhile my little toe is healing well. It is still swollen but I think I can get into my shoes. otherwise it will be a Tewa day. I will also make some pictures from the house they are building. It will be the first of two new constructions we will work on. This house will be Cati’s and Mida’s house and also the house where teams and visitors will stay. We are quite excited that we finally are able to have started this project.

I wish everybody a good start into the new week.

Working in a new village

A view months ago our team got invited by a village that was moved by the Government to a new location. This village came from the Hui Kau Laam valley. One of three Lahu Deng villages that was moved in the last five years. Most of the villages were or are involved in some drug related problems that caused the Government to take action. This new village doesn’t seem to have to much to do with the drugs. There are always many problems with a new village. There is not much infrastructure except the houses where they live in. There is no water, toilets, electricity or proper roads to the village.

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We started a schooling program for the children and teenagers and basically anybody who wants to come. The team teach them the Lahu language and help also with Thai. We share our faith and the love of God with them and have a meeting on Sundays for those who want to come.

The house of the village head where they were meeting got to small and a new building is needed for all the people who come. The men of the village ventured into the forest to cut the bamboo for the new building and we drove with our truck to haul the new building material to the village.

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Water project at the Prao Boarding home

There is some storm over southern China. This is why it rained the last two days. Forecasts tell us we will have rain till Saturday. It is not rainy season yet, so the rain is kind of strange. But it is very refreshing after so many very hot days.
This morning Lillian and I were in Prao (about 100km. North of Chiang Mai) to visit the Boarding home we support. The local Government installed a new water system for the nearby Thai village. We got the permission to connect a pipe for the children’s-home. This morning we brought a water-tank and money for the project.

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Another day in the mountains

I came back this evening from another day in the mountains. I left this morning with the third load of pipes for Hui Ba Rai. Stefan and Anusha from Chiang Mai came along on this trip. With the water project there was one last hill to overcome and I was not sure if we will be able to get over it. After looking for alternative routes. We decided to dig as dip as we had to. Luckily we were able to get right over the hill. Here the view I enjoyed from up in the mountains. It is beautiful up there. The smoke coming from the little tin roof is our lunch being cooked by one of the Lahu women.

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While we were digging officials from the Forest department came up. The were armed with automatic rifles to check on what we were doing. I wonder how they knew we were up there at all. It is not the first time meet officials from the Forest department. They are looking for illegal logging and also drug trafficking. I had a good chat with the chief and as they saw that everything was okay they left again.

We  drove back to  Chiang Mai over Prao to visit the boarding home with we support. There are currently 74 children from 11 remote mountain  villages. My heart is always moved with compassion when I’m there and wish we could do more for those children. But there is always so much we can do to help.

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Water pipes in the jungle

I have been bringing water pipes up to Hui Ba Rai for the last two days. So far we put in 1 kilometer of pipes. The terrain is rather difficult and steep. There are several hills on the way to the village we have to bypass. Unfortunately there is no direct way. We work with gravity and there is no way that the water would flow up hill. I wish it would  though.
This is our first project  we try with LDPE pipes instead of PVC. The pipe comes in a role of 100 meters. I must say that so far I like this kind of pipe a lot more due to flexibility and only a connection every hundred meters. There is also no messy glue used.
On Monday I will go up again with more pipes. The project is more extensive than I evaluated before and I have to take a little break from Thai studies to finish it.

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Surveying a new project

Just came back Yesterday evening from surveying a water project in a Lahu village. The existing piping doesn’t produce enough water anymore. In this particular village I did my first project nearly seven years ago. So we ventured into the mountains and worked our way through the jungle. I took the surveying instruments along, but were unable to use it because of the density of the forest. We had to go down into a deep ravine. Also my altitude meter didn’t work. I don’t know why. I used then my Swiss pocket knife that has an altitude meter. With this I measured the difference in altitude going back all the way back to the village. The distance we counted in paces and later measured the passes with a tape measure and so got the  distance. Once again I wished to have an GPS.
So now back in Chiang Mai I need to calculate the costs and think of how to do the water collection. Then we have to try to get the funds together. My first estimate without the tanks is about 30’000 Thai Baht. What we found is that it is actually possible to put the pipe through the mountains even though the area is very difficult.

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