Hannah spent 6 weeks in Borneo, from 20 March to 4 May, and here is her report. Rhian Roberts had been just before and she too wrote a report Hello from Borneo, which you can also read.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world, situated north west of Australia. It is divided among three countries, Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. 73% of the island is Indonesian and that is where the children’s home is found.
The star shows the approximate position of the children’s home. Borneo is mountainous and covered in jungle and as the island lies on the equator, the temperatures are high and the tropical climate results in humidity levels being as high as 90%, or even higher.
To get to the children’s home from Kuching, the nearest Malaysian airport, a 12 hour bus journey has to be taken. The journey takes so long due to the poor condition of the Indonesian roads, the pot holes cause some trucks to overturn.
This is the main ‘street’ in Living Waters Village, the children’s home. The first building was built only six years ago and now there are more than twenty with more being built every day! The village gives a home to about four hundred children and twenty Indonesian staff and about twenty ‘Western’ long term volunteers, though there are also varying numbers of short term volunteers too.
The first roof is the covered foyer, Borneo has sudden torrential downpours, which extends from the training centre where the children eat their meals and the services are held. The second floor of the training centre has about 80 children sleeping there.
The red building is the volunteer accommodation block; the yellow is a storage building and has teenage boys sleeping there. Where ever there is a space there are children sleeping!
This picture is taken standing next to the yellow storage building. The brown building is destined to be a café to sell cakes etc. but at the moment, it is sleeping accommodation for boys. The pink, green and the unfinished building further along are all sleeping accommodation for girls; there will be two rooms in each building with six girls in each room. The double storey cream building at the top is the new bakery. One of the long term volunteers is a baker by trade and so will live above the bakery with his wife. They will produce bread, cakes, a proportion of the latter will be sold in the café, to supplement the children’s diet, and also the children will be able to work in the bakery, supervised by the baker, and increase their skills.
Here is another slide to show the line of buildings from the green building down to the building at the end which is the training centre again.
Two of the children and two short term volunteers and me. The two girls are from Holland; Amasja, on the left, is a teacher and helped with teaching English at the school and Miriam, in the middle, is a nurse and so did a lot of work in the clinic, attending to the children and the workers.
The enclosed foyer outside the training centre
The newly built eight ward hospital for the children which will also to provide free treatment for the workers. It is nearly completed and if the doctors, nurses and other staff can be found it’s hoped to be up and running soon.
The school built for the children as seen from the training centre. The school teaches children aged 5-10. The schools in Indonesia are more governed by ability rather than age when separating children into classes. Also, as the parents have to pay for the education, many children don’t go to school at the right age so the classes often have a mix of ages.
The primary school from the front
h.org/wp-content/gallery/hannah-hunt-borneo/11-classroom.jpg” />Inside one of the classrooms
Inside the workshop where there’s a group of teenage boys who work with some of the long term volunteers. A lot of the building work materials are here along with paint and wood to make scaffolding, coving, beds, and shelves. They also own their own concrete mixer and all the trucks come here to be fixed or serviced. It is a hive of activity!
The all important football field
Here is the site where all the concrete building blocks are made for the buildings. They make about 250 blocks every day.
This river flows at the bottom of Living Waters Village. From it, coarse sand is dredged and pumped up to be used in making the building blocks. There are a couple of boys who live in the little hut to monitor the pipe and move it according to how high the river is.
This river is also good for floating down on a rubber tire!! The water here is not used for washing as it has passed too many villages. There is a small creek the other side of Living Waters village that is used to pump up water for the showers, washing machines and toilets
Here are two of the Asramas. These are ‘homes’ for the children. There are sixteen boys and sixteen girls of all ages. They also have house parents. All the meals are eaten here, their homework is done together, they have morning prayer meeting together and they all sleep in dorms in the building. The eventual aim at Living Waters village is to have all the children’s buildings in the same set up.
Good Friday service required an Israelite costume!
Me with the girls from a ‘short-term volunteer’ family from Australia.
Easter games day.
Tug-o-war for the little ones
Native Indonesian game apparently! Aim is to reach the top of the oiled mast to obtain the prizes fastened to the wheel. If it wasn’t oiled the kids wouldn’t need a human ladder, they could just climb it!!
Successful team member!
Easter Sunday Service where everybody got a palm branch to wave.
The morning prayer meeting at 5.30am. One child leads the rest of them with a bible passage and what they are to pray for and they all pray out loud and at the same time.
Here the school bus is taking the ‘higher juniors/lower secondary’ children to the school in the nearby village of Mangala. The higher secondary children had already left for the school in the nearest town, Nanga Pinoh, 45mins away.
These are the children at the Easter holiday club and volunteers who ran it.
Children at the holiday club playing badminton
Craft at the holiday club
The Tuesday night worship for all the children at the training centre
Close up of the girls accommodation
This shows the set up of the pink and green buildings inside. The beds hadn’t been completed yet but the girls had moved in. The toilet served as a toilet and shower room.
Some of the girls who had moved into the green building with me. They were so pleased to get more space!
The present first aid room with the volunteers trying to attend to all the kids. A queue had to be formed outside as we could only fit so many in the room.
The children letting their imaginations run with chalks outside. There is plenty of rain in Borneo to wash it off!!
Badol showing me his ‘car’ that he has just coloured
Wawan gets a ride on his friend’s ‘car’
This is the verse that most spoke to me when I was out in Borneo. Having just come from the pressure of school and choosing the university and course to do and then my job so before I left everything seemed so important; you had to get the best job, the best course you could, the best results, but in Borneo I realised that it didn’t matter. Of course, I had to do the best I could with what God had given me but my grades could only get me the course I would find the most enjoyable and my job was only there to pay the bills, in the grander scheme of things they didn’t matter. One day I would be old, that day would come faster than I could have imagined, and I would look back and what difference would it make if I had worked and worked to achieve the highest flying position when I would just have to retire someday and someone else would take the credit for it? What mattered was what we did with the time God has given us on this temporary earth to prepare for an unchangeable eternity. I saw the variety of workers God had brought together to achieve his plan in Borneo, and nobody thought about what they were or where they had come from but the job was getting done. A diamond cutter was doing administration, a baker was making doors, a professor was constructing clothes rails and I was painting! And this was living a real life with a real reason.
Also I realised I couldn’t pray ‘Lord, I want to do your will, I want you to control my life.’ and then put limitations on it such as ‘where I want to be’ or ‘as long as its something I want to do anyway’ it has to be completely, even if it meant I stayed in Borneo for the rest of my life. And the morning I realised this, I found out in the afternoon that I had been offered a place to do my chosen course at university. God is kind and wont always give us our most hated options as its not what we do but how we do it that counts, we just have to let him choose the ‘what we do’ and then we can honour him in the ‘how we do it.’
So having come back from Borneo I have realised that ‘unnumbered souls are dying and pass into the night’ not just in Borneo, but here too and therefore apathy is not an option. Our frantic lives can cloud the view but we need God to show us the bigger picture.