Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Journey to Kampung Terian

On the itinerary, the visit to Kampung Terian looked like an open and shut case – hop onto a van, switch to a 4-wheel drive (4WD), overnight at Kampung Terian, hop onto a 4WD, switch to a van and Bingo! Back in Borneo Paradise[1]. However, Murphy[2] had other plans for us and was in his element on the weekend of the 3rd/4th of October 2009.

Right on the dot of half past seven everyone on Trip 1 is gathered and ready to go when Adrian, of PACOS Trust
[3], discovered that his stubborn 4WD refused to wake from its slumber. With a huff and a puff from the Challenge for Change (C4C) challengees (ie the university students), the 4WD groaned to life and off they went. However, a 30-minute drive turned out to be an hour’s drive as the vans do not take easily to the gravel road. And so the starting times for Trips 2 and 3 were each delayed by 30 minutes.

Dark clouds loomed as the last batch left Borneo Paradise but the rain held up. When we got to Kampung Timpangoh, the end of the road for the vans, we discovered that those on Trip 2 were still waiting for the 4WDs to make their way down from Kampung Terian. “Goodness, goodness me”, I thought to myself, “it would be dark before Trip 3 gets to go up!” You wouldn’t believe it but Adrian managed to get all 40-odd of us into 5 4WDs! I felt the first droplets of the rain As we started out from Kampung Timpangoh. Ten minutes into the journey, the skies opened and turned the dirt road into a sea of mud. Combine that with a zig-zagging route, sections of it with 45 degrees climb, potholes aplenty, fast gushing streams with no bridges, you have an out of this world roller coaster ride, without having to go to a theme park!! We were thrown left, right, centre, up and down. All 2 hours of it!!

My heart was in my mouth as the vehicle in front drifted to the left and to the right, flew over humps, with Emily and 3 C4C challengees hanging on to dear life on the back of the truck with rain pouring down on them. I was lucky as I had a passenger seat. Then all of a sudden all vehicles came to a stop. We got down and a few yards in front, we could see that disaster had struck – Adrian’s 4WD hung precariously over the ledge, its fourth wheel a useless piece of rubber! A huff and a puff did not work this time around. A tug of war against a sitting duck 4WD turned out to be a losing battle. So what do we do? No vehicles behind Adrian’s could not go forward as that section of the road allowed only one vehicle to pass at a time. So it is either to turn back or to somehow get Adrian’s 4WD off the ledge!

Suddenly Adrian spied a fallen tree branch but it was too short to be used as a lever. Before you know it, Adrian had found a parang, cut down a young tree, halved it and produced two levers! All city slickers were commanded to pull the vehicle from the front while the drivers jacked up the vehicle from behind. That was I got a mud treatment for my feet! As my feet sunk into the mud I yelped out, but quickly got over my squeamishness. “It is only mud, girl, for goodness sake! We’ve got a car to move!” But I digress. The two levers did wonders. With the vehicle being jacked up from behind and a great heave-ho from the city slickers up front, Adrian’s 4WD was back onto terra firma in no time. A cheer rung out and all of us breathed a great sigh of relief!

We drove on relentlessly through the sea of mud and gushing streams. After awhile, again the vehicles came to a standstill. The vehicles would go no further. We will have to hike to the village. I thought to myself, “At last! I got my wish – to hike to the village!” I secretly smiled! As we gathered our rucksacks, and plastic bags containing our knic-knacs, Adrian busied himself by cutting branches of young trees into sticks to help us traverse the slippery slopes. Armed with a stick each, off we went. The hike was wet, slippery and steep but it was fun! It ended all too soon – 45 minutes into the hike, I spotted padi fields and then a moment later houses! We have reached the village
[4], all in one piece, but what an experience it had been!

The Itinerary (3rd and 4th October 2009)

Getting to Kampung Terian
1. Borneo Paradise to Kampung Timpangoh – by van – 30 minutes
2. Kampung Timpangoh to Kampung Terian – 4 wheel drive – 1 hour
Repeat steps 1-2 three times to get all 64 participants to Kampung Terian

At Kampung Terian
1. Visit the micro hydro dam and power generation room
2. A dip in the river
3. Settle in with the villagers
4. Dinner
5. A short education on the building and maintenance of the micro hydro dam, power generation and distribution set
6. Performance of the Sumazau dance by the children
7. Bedtime
8. Breakfast

Getting back to Borneo Paradise Beach Resort
1. Kampung Terian to Kampung Timpangoh – 4 wheel drive – 1 hour
2. Kampung Timpangoh to Borneo Paradise – by van – 30 minutes
Repeat steps 1-2 three times to get all 64 participants back to Borneo Paradise

[1] Borneo Paradise Beach Hotel, was our base for the Challenge for Change Boot Camp, 1st to 4th October 2009.
[2] Murphy, of Murphy’s Law which states that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.
[3] PACOS Trust is a community based voluntary organisation to raise the overall quality of life of indigenous communities.
[4] It took us nearly 5 hours to reach Kampung Terian. As the crow flies, Kampung Terian is only 25km from Kota Kinabalu.

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