The Epicurious Wanderers!

Bagaimana anda mencampur semen?

Sun 19 Jan
Ok, so now I’ve got you attention… the title actually says How do I mix cement? Well at least according to Google Translate.

Early this morning I heard the children heading off to church, I did think about joining them, sadly only for a few minutes though. The church is just behind the dining and meeting halls, it’s not quite finished and at this stage lacks any ventilation. We did pop in the other night while they were practising some new songs, it was stifling in the building, the singing though was beautiful.

We gathered for breakfast and then headed over to the chook pen to see what we could do. The builder has started the new extension walls and has replaced the asbestos roof, although the rubble from old materials was still all over the ground. We decided that our best course of action was to clean this all up to give us a clean space to begin Monday with. This took us about an hour so so, again one of the children, Steven, came and helped us. He’s a great kid but sadly appears to be a bit of a loner and maybe not as popular as some of the other boys. We decided he needed gaji for his efforts so we each chipped in 10,000Rp for him, about $1 each, nothing to us but to him a good reward for an hour or so of work.

After we had cleaned up there was no firm plan for the rest of the day, after all Sunday is the day of rest. We couldn’t sit still though so we wandered down into the nearby village to have a look around. While we were there we decided that a contribution to the local economy was needed as well as replenishing the kitchen material we’d used. So we loaded up on tea towels, dishwashing liquid and scourers as well as some cleaning products for our bathrooms.

Our path to and from the village via the back road takes us along the local version of Jacobs Ladder, quite a series of steep irregular steps. We also pass a number of houses that give us chance to meet a few more of the locals. All such amazing people to watch as they go about their daily lives.

Balinese Jacobs Ladder

Possibly the highlight of the day was heading up to Gilimanuk for dinner. We had Ayam Betutu, a local spicy chicken dish. Brendon had been building this up for days and he was not wrong it was amazing. Loads of rich flavour with good amounts of chilli, which of course through the use of various sambal’s you can ramp up if you so desire, which of course I did. The restaurant itself was nothing fancy but it was certainly very popular, as we were leaving a bus from Java arrived for a meal stop on the way down to Denpasar.

Mon 20 Jan
Wow, what a day!

We had a relatively early start on the chicken house today and made amazing progress. It always intrigues me when overseas just how much communication can be achieved with smiles, gestures and nods.. Working with the builder we managed to complete the brick walls around the extension the the chicken house, add the timber frames for the mesh and then install the mesh itself. We just couldn’t finish that whole process, as we were one length of timber short to complete the framing.

As we worked we had music playing to gee us along, of course that means at times we start singing as well. I’m not sure the builder knew what was going on and what these crazy bulai were doing. He’s an interesting character to watch. I remember doing woodwork at school where you were taught to measure twice and cut once, always using a set square to get your angles correct. He looks at what needs to be cut, marks with his thumb nail and then adds a bit before cutting and it all just fits. As for using a level to square things up, there isn’t one on site, again all done be eye and amazingly it all seems fairly square and level.

When we ran out of timber the builder looked at the scrap pieces we had and looked like he was then going to fashion the last cross piece from them. But no, he laid his tools down, wandered over to his scooter and rode off, we assumed to get timber. After 40 minutes or so when he hadn’t returned we asked Pak Wayan and he said he finished for the day and had gone home, just like that.

When the children returned from school they were asked to help us move the sand pile over to the chicken house ready to lay the concrete slab tomorrow. They grabbed whatever they could to shift sand, plant pots, buckets, a wheelbarrow with a flat tire and shifted the sand pile in a very short time, laughing and joking the whole time.

After well earned showers, I never thought a cold water shower could be so good, we wandered to for evening bible study and dinner. Again some of the boys had cooked for us, a spicy chicken dish wiped several accompaniments. After dinner we sat and chatted with various groups of the children, they have so many questions about life in Australia and how we do things. They are also all very keen to know about us and our families, one of the common questions is how many children do you have. When I say none, a common response is, I’ll be you children… so heartwarming and amazing to hear.

Then it was time for us to start to get ready for dinner tomorrow, we’re cooking for everybody. Again though the children want to help so we have a small army in the kitchen chopping onions, garlic and tomatoes ready for us the make a pasta sauce. Into a huge pot it all went and we then sweated down the onions , added the other ingredients and let it cook down for a while. Tomorrow we will finish it off, cook the spaghetti and serve them dinner on our last night here, which I’m sure will be mix of laugher and tears as we get ready to say goodbye, for now, to these amazing and the staff who care for them like one huge family.

Tues 21 Jan

Today was concreting day! After a relatively early breakfast we hit the kangung ayam to lay the floor. At home you’d have a mixer setup, shovel the sand, cement & gravel in, let in mix then add water to get right consistency, not here. On the floor inside we have sand pile, you drag a portion off to one side, add cement, mix with a hoe, then add water. Then for first section we bucketed the mix to the corner, emptied and then levelled out. As we got closer it was just a simple throw from the mixing pile to where we want it. Then the last section was mix on the floor and simply spread out, all the while the builder was keeping a close eye on us. For the last section we left it to his and his offsides, they’ve obviously done this many times and have the routine down to a fine art.

As well as finishing touches for tonight’s dinner we’re waiting on the netting to go over the top to arrive. We’re working on Bali time, so anytime in next day or so will be good.

This evening we have our final dinner here. Apparently the children have prepared a farewell dance for us, we may also have to get up and join them. While I’m looking forward to this, I’m not at the same time as it means our time here is at an end….

I think tonight and our departure tomorrow morning need there own separate post.

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