For the past 2 years I have been fortunate enough to be involved in the Matipwili Project. Working with an incredible team of humble, modest, generous and kind hearted humanitarians. The family of Matipwili – Richard, Jeanann & Bori, the duo who create the magic – Phil and Bill, the people who lead on ground – Alec, Steve & Liam, the team who put together fundraisers, posters & support – Nerina, Diane, Kathryn, Jordan, Jack, Anna and Tracey, along with all the generosity of gift givers, donators, block builders, and especially our own family members. I am overwhelmed with pride to be a part of this team.
We are less than a week out before the Expedition team for 2015 with the Inclusion of new members for their first time [including Andrew Gehling, former region Chair of CEFPI] make their way to Matipwili, it is a timely reminder to reflect upon the journey that’s been the last few years.
It is incredible, really, when you think about it! I was a ball of nerve’s around this time two years ago- I didn’t know what to expect, I had dragged an unsuspected sister from another mister on a journey with a convoy of Perthians that i barely knew, to a country id never been. My poor dear Anna, little did we know the power, people and most amazing adventure it would take us on.
We received photographs from site as the villagers start to lay the first of the blocks… now despite the fact that the blocks being laid on the mat making module are being laid in a different sequence to our plan, that our slab is in a slightly different location than we anticipated and the rainwater tank a little differently shaped to what we had documented and the columns are being authentically cut and shaped. We’re not exactly sure what will be complete by the time we arrive, so not really sure exactly what we begin with. But this is adventure right! And if you’ve been a part of the EIW office lately, you can sense our excitement!
Like any project on site there are always slight deviations from specifications, and documents, there are always little quirks, challenges and substitutions and Matipwili is no exception. But through all of this, it’s the little things that put this into perspective.
A dear friend, who doesn’t wished to be named… But is a man of many talents jumped at the opportunity to write a few modest words about the key creative project director of the Trade Training Centre. There is a particular sentence in there that send shivers up my spine! “7 women annually are taken by crocodiles from the banks of the river while performing household duties’” isn’t that insane… We have a design of a Trade Training Centre with rainwater tank and a laundry… Bam. All of those little challenges, quirks and deviations are in perspective. Ever really want to meet an inspirational person who puts their money were there mouth is- read the words! Talk about changing lives! Imagine being responsible for changing that statistic!
The journey of Matipwili has been one with many hills and valleys, politics, risk, battles, beauty, generously- but above all, a life changing one for those in Matipwili. The new generation of rammed earth/ concrete blocks- created by Gary Miller, here in Perth- sees a new more sustainable mode of construction take shape in the village. Not only will the Trade Training Centre provide a new hope and futures for many students and growth within its community- with the likes of carpentry, mat making, and mechanics. But it too will assist in feeding those primary schools children who often do not eat & travel 10km by foot to school each day.
Our love and support extends out far & we have been fortunate to receive funds from the Australian government, CEFPI, our friends, our families, our businesses, our schools and also our own communities.
Isn’t this a lovely story? It sure is a lovely journey; I’m lucky I’ve been given this opportunity & want you to feel a part of this. Stay tuned with photos and updates of our journey.
We are all capable of making change and if I may indulge in a powerful quote by Emma Watson
‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’
PS- scroll down to read the words “Just a pair of hot skinny lattes’ – it will put a smile on your face